A senior politician has echoed reports that Iran’s oil exports have fallen 95% amid comprehensive US sanctions.

Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, the chairman of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, made the statement in an interview with the Parliamentary website Khane-ye Mellat (the House of Nation).

In April 2018, Iran exported about 2.5 million barrels of oil per day. This summer some analysts said the official total had collapsed to about 125,000 bpd.

Radio Farda claims an official total of 160,000 bpd in August — a sharp fall from 663,000 bpd in July after the US ended sanctions waivers for Iran’s leading customers such as China, India, Turkey, Japan, and South Korea. The site says, from information from the tanker tracker Kpler, that exports in September were 131,000 bpd.

Other analysts have said the fall could be cushioned by Tehran moving up to 400,000 bpd on “gray” and “black” markets. The International Monetary Fund, which has projected a 9.5% fall in Iranian GDP this year, says the Islamic Republic’s exports are limited to 600,000 bpd.

Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh conceded in early October that the US sanctions “have put us under pressure”. A week later, President Hassan Rouhani’s Chief of Staff asserted that Iran was coping with mystery oil sales.

See Iran Daily, Oct 9: Oil Minister Concedes Effect of US Sanctions
Iran Daily, Oct 17: President’s Top Aide — We Are Mysteriously Selling Our Oil

The Supreme Leader, Rouhani, and other officials have tried to counter any economic crisis by saying that Iran can diversify non-oil exports and pursue a “Resistance Economy” of self-sufficiency.

The current Government budget rests on 34% of revenues coming from oil sales. Finance and Economy Minister Farhad Dezhpasand maintained on Tuesday that the share has dropped to 24%.

But even with the attempt at diversification, analysts say the global oil price must rise to $195 per barrel for Iran to have a balanced budget.

The current oil price is about $57 per barrel. Adjusted for inflation, the highest price in history was $146 per barrel in June 2008.