Iranian trade with Western powers soars

Data shows significant increase despite sanctions.

UN Security Council 311 (photo credit: courtesy)
UN Security Council 311
(photo credit: courtesy)
Trade between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council has soared despite a newly imposed round of international economic sanctions on Iran, the semi-official Iranian news broadcaster Press TV has claimed.
A Press TV report claimed that while Iranian imports from the U.S. and the U.K. have suffered under the new sanctions regime, exports to both countries rose by 76 percent and 61 percent, respectively, over the last four months. Trade with China, by many account’s Iran’s most important trading partner, saw a 50 percent rise in exports and a 40 percent rise in imports, the news agency found.
On June 9 the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France and China - all voted to impose a fourth round of sanction on Iran over its nuclear program. Together with Germany the five countries are often referred to as the P5+1 countries, which try to negotiate with Iran as a united block.
The only country among the six to record a decrease in both import and export was Russia, with Iranian exports to Russia falling by 20 percent and imports by 8 percent over the same period.
“The sanctions haven’t significant impact on Iran’s trade at least in short run,” Dr. Amir Hossein Mozayani of the Economic Research Center at Tarbiat Modares University in Iran told The Media Line. “The reported trade values are due to the previous contracts and may be affected more over the coming months.”
“Maybe this data refers to a cyclical part of trade that goes up in first half of the year and goes down in second half,” he said. “The P5+1 countries also weren’t able to convince their private companies to accept the recent sanctions, especially in the current recession.”
“Iran will be able to cope with the situation,” Dr Mozayani added. “There may just be higher prices on imports and lower prices on exports or more insurance charges or something.”
Dr. Christian Koch, Director of International Studies at the Gulf Research Center in Dubai argued that the sanctions have proven effective.
“I don’t know the reason for releasing this data but there are signs that the sanctions are working,” he told The Media Line. “I would attempt to portray this as a sign that Iran is not being isolated.”
The United Nations Security Council slapped a fourth round of sanctions on Iran in June, barring dealings with firms linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.         The Revolutionary Guard is a separate organization from the Iranian army and operates its own armed forces, navy, air force and militia. Its goal is to preserve the theocracy in Teheran, but over the years it has widened its scope and runs a vast business empire, ranging from construction to telecommunications.
The new UN sanctions are the latest stage in an ongoing standoff between the United States and Iran over the end goal of Iranian’s nuclear program. Washington and others claim Iran is using its program as a cover to produce atomic bombs, but Tehran argues the program is for the peaceful purpose of power production.
Following the new U.N. sanctions, which cover all 192 member states of the global body, both the United States and European Union tightened their own sanctions further.