Oil exports rising despite U.S. sabotage: Oji

March 12, 2022 - 14:38

TEHRAN – Iranian Oil Minister Javad Oji has said Iran’s oil exports are still on the rise despite the U.S. seizure of Iranian tankers in recent months, Fars news agency reported.

“The United States has, on several occasions in the past months, violated Iranian oil tankers to prevent the export of shipments," Javad Oji said on Saturday.

"When the enemy realized it could not stop our exports and contracts, they went after our ships," the minister added.

His remarks follow reports of a recent seizure of an Iranian oil tanker in the Bahamas, even as talks in Vienna to revive a 2015 nuclear deal are still underway.

"Iran's oil exports have risen under the toughest sanctions and without waiting for the outcome of the Vienna talks," said Oji.

The increase was thanks to "different methods used to win contracts and finding different buyers," the official added.

The rise had "even increased the bargaining power of our team in Vienna," he said, without elaborating.

Tehran's oil exports have been limited since former U.S. President Donald Trump in 2018 exited the 2015 nuclear accord and reimposed sanctions.

Iran views U.S. sanctions as illegal and has said it will make every effort to sidestep them.

The Islamic Republic’s oil exports have risen to more than one million barrels per day (bpd) for the first time in almost three years, based on estimates from companies that track the flows, reflecting increased shipments to China.

Iran increased exports in 2021 despite the sanctions, according to estimates from oil industry consultants and analysts. But they remained well below the 2.5 million bpd shipped before sanctions were reintroduced.

Back in January, Head of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Mohsen Khojasteh-Mehr said the country’s oil revenues have increased significantly over the past few months and the country has received the payment for all its crude oil sales since the new government administration.

“In the thirteenth government, part of the country’s lost oil markets has been revived and we have received the payment for all the oil we have sold so far,” Khojasteh-Mehr said.

According to the official, the private sector is also contributing greatly to the country’s current oil sales.

EF/MA

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