ICYMI: Congress Must Act On Iran’s Illicit Oil Trade With China

Administration, Congress Must Work To Stop Iran From Selling Oil To China

(New York, N.Y.) — On Tuesday, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) Senior Adviser Ambassador Nikki Haley authored an op-ed in The Washington Post calling attention to the sale of millions of barrels of Iranian oil to China in violation of U.S. sanctions, and the absence of a response from the Biden Administration. This has allowed the cash-starved Iranian regime, which has no access to international banking systems, to continue funding its terror proxy groups and destabilizing activity throughout the Middle East.

“Tracking Iran’s oil sales to China is difficult because much of the trade is covert, but industry monitors report that in 2021 China imports hundreds of thousands of barrels of Iranian crude per day. Every barrel of Iranian oil offloaded in Chinese ports is a violation of sanctions the United States put in place to starve revenue from Iranian terror and its nuclear program. Yet the Biden administration leaves Chinese firms unpunished for doing business with the ayatollahs … None of this bodes well for the United States.” 

Every month, UANI publishes its Iran Tanker Tracker report on Iran’s exports of crude oil and gas to countries around the world, compiled using data from leading ship tracking websites in combination with satellite imagery. In September’s 2021 Iran Tanker Tracking blog, UANI research produced estimates that China imported about 22 million barrels of Iranian oil during September. 

Ambassador Haley urged both the Biden Administration and Congress to hold Iran and China accountable for its illicit trade and to step up enforcement of U.S. sanctions – and if necessary, introduce new sanctions –targeting the ships, businesses, port authorities, and the full suite of maritime service providers that facilitate the sale of Iranian oil.

“If Biden won’t hold Iran or China accountable, Congress should. To start, Congress can enact sanctions on the People’s Bank of China and other Chinese banks that deal with the Central Bank of Iran. They should tie any relief to compliance with U.S. sanctions against Iran. Lawmakers can also place sanctions on Chinese entities that store Iranian oil or help operate, maintain, register or insure vessels that transport it … But Congress can only do so much. Instead of foolishly trusting in diplomacy, the Biden administration should make it more difficult for Iranian oil to leave for China.” 

To read Ambassador Haley’s op-ed in The Washington Post, please click here

To read UANI’s Iran Tanker Tracking resource, please click here.