TEHRAN: Iran is keeping up oil sales through “unconventional” means to circumvent US sanctions, oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said in an interview published on Saturday.
“We have unofficial or unconventional sales, all of which are secret, because if they are made known America would immediately stop them,” he said, quoted by the oil ministry’s news agency.
Zanganeh declined to give details on Iran’s oil exports, saying he would not disclose figures until sanctions were lifted.
In May 2018, Washington withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers that granted Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its atomic programme.
Why India can’t ignore US sanctions on IranWhile India has continued to trade with Iran during previous such sanctions, it has had to cut oil imports as the sanctions (that also prohibit transactions by foreign financial institutions with the Central Bank of Iran) choke off banking channels and insurance cover for tankers that carry oil.
Washington reimposed oil sanctions on Iran last November, but initially gave eight countries, including several allies such as China, six-month waivers.
Iran’s oil shipments tumbled to 750,000 barrels per day in April compared to 1.5 million in October, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The White House in May ended all the waivers as part of a “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran.
Donald Trump puts India in a fix over Iran oil and regional strategyThe US has put India in a tight energy fix and strategic tangle, ending the waiver that allowed New Delhi to buy Iranian oil even as it whittled down supplies from Tehran. Other countries that also lost the waiver in the face of the Trump administration’s hostility towards Iran are all American allies – Japan, South Korea, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Taiwan.
According to Zanganeh, the US has reached an “evil maturity” in tightening the noose on Iran’s economy using “smart sanctions”.
“The most severe organised sanctions in history are currently being imposed on Iran,” he said.