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US Official: Sanctions Have Denied Iran of More than $10 Bln in Oil Revenues

US Official: Sanctions Have Denied Iran of More than $10 Bln in Oil Revenues

Thursday, 25 April, 2019 - 05:15
A general view of an oil dock is seen from a ship at the port of Kalantari in the city of Chabahar, east of the Strait of Hormuz January 17, 2012. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
A US official declared on Thursday that the re-imposed sanctions against Iran have deprived its government of more than $10 billion in oil revenue since President Donald Trump first announced the move last May.

Brian Hook, US Special Representative for Iran and Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of State, made the comment during a call with reporters days after Washington said it would end all exemptions to the sanctions.

The United States demanded importers halt purchases from Tehran from May 1 or face punitive action.

"Before sanctions...Iran generated as much as $50 billion annually in oil revenue. We estimate that our sanctions have already denied the regime more than $10 billion since May (2018)," Hook said.

The United States re-imposed sanctions against Iran's oil exports last November after Trump last spring unilaterally pulled out of a 2015 accord between Iran and six world powers to curb Tehran's nuclear program. But Washington initially allowed the eight biggest buyers of Iranian oil limited imports for another half-year.

On Wednesday, Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei said that the country can export as much oil as it needs, his official website reported, as the United States prepares to end waivers.

“America’s efforts in sanctioning the sale of Iranian oil won’t get anywhere,” Khamenei was quoted as saying. “We can export as much of our oil as we need and want.”

Washington’s enmity will receive an answer and Iran’s people will not remain silent, Khamenei said, without elaborating.

Iran's biggest oil buyers are China, India, South Korea, Japan and Turkey. Taiwan, Greece and Italy stopped imports despite being given waivers.

China is the biggest buyer, and Beijing has criticized the move to re-impose sanctions.

US officials speaking during Thursday's call that they were confident China would be able to find alternative supplies to Iran.

Before the re-imposition of sanctions, Iran was one of the top five producers among the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) at close to 4 million barrels per day (bpd). Iran's oil exports have now dropped to about 1 million barrels per day (bpd).

The tightening of US sanctions announced this week pushed crude oil prices to their highest levels this year.

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