A senior official has pleaded for Iran to be able to export its oil, bypassing comprehensive US sanctions.
Speaking anonymously to reporters, the official said, amid a 60% fall in official Iranian oil exports since April 2018:
What is our demand? Our demand is to be able to sell our oil and get the money back. And this is in fact the minimum of our benefit from the [2015 nuclear] deal.
We are not asking Europeans to invest in Iran….We only want to sell our oil.
The official’s line is in sharp contrast to the public position of the Supreme Leader, who has declared a self-sufficient “Resistance Economy”, and President Hassan Rouhani in their declarations of Iranian strength and US weakness.
At the start of June — before the prospect of military confrontation was raised by attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman and by Iran’s downing of a US drone — Rouhani said:
For months and days, the Iranian nation went through some tough times against the enemies relying on its steadfastness which forced the enemies to retreat step by step.
But Iran’s official oil exports have been reduced from 2.5 million barrels per day to about 1 million, although analysts say up to 400,000 bpd may be moving on grey and black markets.
Having withdrawn from the nuclear agreement in May 2018, the US imposed comprehensive sanctions last November and has tightened them this spring, ending waivers for Iran’s leading customers such as China, India, South Korea, Japan, and Turkey.
The European Union launched a limited Special Purpose Vehicle in early February, bypassing the US sanctions for trade in Iranian oil and other commodities and goods. However, Tehran rejected the mechanism, known as INSTEX, because of “humiliating conditions” such as the EU’s concern over Iran’s missile program, activities in the Middle East, and alleged involvement in assassination and bomb plots in Europe.
The official said Thursday, “Europeans should either buy oil from us or give its money [price] to us.”