Iran's efforts to neutralize U.S. sanctions reach new heights

April 6, 2022 - 20:17

TEHRAN – A remarkable amount of Iran’s blocked assets has been released in accordance with a deal separate from the 2015 nuclear deal, whose negotiations have come to a standstill.

Iran’s state news agency IRNA broke the news Wednesday amid growing uncertainties over the talks in Vienna over reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

A significant portion of Iran's blocked foreign exchange resources will be released following a new agreement that is independent of the JCPOA, IRNA said, citing an informed source. 

The state agency said the assets are “many times” larger than the €470 million recently released by dent of a deal between Iran and the UK.

The recent agreement to release Iran's foreign assets is independent of the JCPOA and is the second major release of Iranian assets in recent weeks.

The release of Iran’s funds comes against a backdrop of renewed improvement in leading sectors of Iran’s economy. For instance, Iran’s oil production rebounded to pre-sanctions levels at a time when the U.S. hasn’t removed any of its oil and gas restrictions on Iran. 

Iran’s Oil Minister, Javad Oji, has announced that the country’s crude oil production has reached the pre-sanction level.

Underlining that the current capacity of Iran’s oil production has reached more than 3.8 million barrels per day (bpd), the minister said, “We hope that through the efforts of all those active in this sector, we will reach higher figures in the exports of crude oil, gas condensate, oil products, and petrochemicals in [the current Iranian calendar year] 1400 (started on March 21)”.

“By taking effective measures in onshore and offshore oil fields, drilling new wells, repairing wells, rebuilding and modernizing facilities, and oil collection centers, the current oil production capacity has reached before the sanctions, and we have no problem in performance and this amount of production,” Oji added.

“Iran's oil exports have risen under the toughest sanctions and without waiting for the outcome of the Vienna talks,” the minister had said in mid-March.

Back in January, Head of the 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.

The positive economic indications come as the talks in Vienna remain in limbo due to the unwillingness of the Biden administration to make tough political decisions. Over the last few months, the U.S. has been constantly calling for the instant conclusion of the talks without taking any practical steps to achieve that goal. 

On the other hand, Iran made all the necessary decisions concerning the Vienna talks which resumed in April last year. Iranian Foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian has recently said that “the ball is now in the United States' court.”

The economic rebound of Iran also highlights the fact that the U.S. needs to resurrect the JCPOA more than Iran does.  The U.S. imposed sweeping sanctions on Iran with the aim of using them as leverage to extract concessions from Iran. But these sanctions are losing their effect by the day. Iran has managed to successfully weather the storm while the U.S. is now grappling with the adverse effects of its sanctions policy toward Iran. 

 Iran is now in a better position than it was a year ago. It has coped with the effects of U.S. sanctions and is now preparing for the growth of more than 5 percent for the new Iranian year. 

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