Iran’s private sector oil exports to European and Asian countries have topped 20
million barrels during the past four months, the director of the country’s
Petrochemicals Exporters Union has said, the Iranian press reported on
Hassan Khosrojerdi said that Iran’s private sector would make
“several shipments” of crude oil over the coming days and that the sales had
been made without the involvement of the state-owned Iranian National Oil
“Negotiations with foreign companies for several
shipments of oil via the private sector have now come to a close and soon
several new shipments of oil will be sent to their intended markets,” the
Iranian Student’s News Agency quoted Khosrojerdi as saying.
the banking sanctions, the oil embargo and to sanctions barring EU-based
insurance companies from covering tankers carrying Iranian oil, Khosrojerdi said
that the private consortiums had “completely neutralized sanctions on foreign
exchange transactions, on insurance and on Western oil
According to Khosrojerdi, Iran has made up new guidelines for
foreign exchange currency earned from oil sales.
To deal with insurance
sanctions, domestic insurance agents will cover the Iranian oil tankers, he
China, which has continued to buy Iranian oil, has already shifted
responsibility for tanker insurance to Tehran to circumvent the EU
According to Iranian Student’s News Agency, Khosrojerdi said
that Iran’s private sector oil consignments are sold at a price set by NIOC, and
that the daily average amount of sales would reach 700,000 barrels per day in
the next half year.
The plan to use private companies to circumvent the
oil embargo is part of a wider sanctions-busting campaign coordinated by the
Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The Guard, which has been sanctioned for
activities relating to Iran’s nuclear weapons program, controls large swathes of
the country’s oil industry, which accounts for 50 percent of government revenue
and 80% of Iran’s exports.
Iran first announced its plan to create a
private sector consortium to sell oil to international markets, including the
EU, in July, days after the European Union embargo on the import, purchase and
transport of Iranian crude came into effect on July 1.
sanctions, the 27 EU member states had accounted for almost a fifth of Iranian
In July, Khosrojerdi said the consortium agreement had been
signed by Iran’s Central Bank, the Petroleum Ministry and the Petrochemicals
Exporters Union. The consortium would sell some of its oil to privately owned
European refineries, Khosrojerdi claimed.
The Petrochemicals Exporters
Union director said that the National Iranian Oil Company had agreed to the
Last month, the US Treasury Department designated NIOC an “an agent
or affiliate” of the Revolutionary Guard, a move that enables Washington to
sanction any foreign banks dealing with the company.
In its report on
NIOC, the US government said that the Revolutionary Guard had coordinated a
campaign to evade sanctions and sell Iranian oil, particularly as the
Revolutionary Guard’s influence over NIOC has grown.
Guard, whose commander Mohammad Ali Jafari has called it the “vanguard” of
Iran’s economy, has gained considerable influence over the country’s lucrative
oil and gas industry, including over NIOC.
Last year, the Iranian
government appointed Rostam Ghassemi, a brigadier-general in the Revolutionary
Guard, as petroleum minister.
Ghassemi is the former commander of
Khatam-ol- Anbia, the Revolutionary Guard’s construction and engineering branch
and main economic arm, and since his ministerial appointment last August has
expanded the Guard’s interests in Iran’s oil sector, declaring that “while I
have become a public servant in the oil ministry, my entire existence is in the
Guards and I shall remain this way.”
Despite Iran’s assurances that its
plan to use the private sector to evade oil sanctions was working, figures
reported on Wednesday showed that imports to Tehran’s leading oil customer,
China, fell around a quarter this month compared to the same time last
However, China’s imports of Iranian crude rose by 3% compared with
last month’s figures. China bought 382,400 barrels per day, up 3% from 371,000
bpd in August, according to Reuters.
Iran has also threatened this week
to cease oil sales altogether if the West intensifies
Petroleum Minister Ghassemi told a Dubai energy conference on
Tuesday that Iran has contingency plans to run the country without oil revenue.