Economic pressure can compel Tehran to moderate its destructive behavior and end its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Crude and natural gas exports historically account for 25% of government revenues: it is therefore important to accurately track Iran’s oil exports to interpret if sanctions are effectively stopping the flow of revenue to the regime.
This can be difficult given the regime’s track-record of smuggling and sanctions evasion techniques and there is little consensus among oil tracking agencies about how much is getting through, and to where.
This variance mars the accuracy of media reports, but it also presents a serious challenge to those trying to get a handle on the trajectory of the Iranian economy, given its oil revenue dependency.
More importantly, a correct accounting of quantities and destinations will help focus limited resources to where they are really needed: which shippers, which vessels, which areas, which ports, which flags, which insurers.
UANI has therefore sought to address the information gap with a new comprehensive ship-tracking methodology.
Using Automatic Identification System (AIS), satellite imagery, vessel comparison and tanker classification, and cargo datasets to uncover all under-the-radar ship-to-ship (STS) transfers and exports of Iranian oil and gas condensates, we generate what we contend are the most accurate figures available.
This resource seeks to disrupt Iran’s attempts to generate profits from oil sales and further isolate the regime economically.
The Iran-backed Houthi terrorist group in Yemen has carried out a total of 30 piracy (hijacking), UAV, and anti-ship ballistic missile attacks on ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since the first attack on November 19, 2023, the hijacking of the GALAXY LEADER (IMO: 9237307).
Even following the December 18, 2023 launch of the U.S.-led international maritime coalition, Operation Prosperity Guardian, the Houthis have continued to attack ships at a broadly similar rate – albeit the targets now include both commercial and military vessels. Read more
On June 11, 2022, Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi signed a 20-year cooperation agreement to expand ties in the oil and petrochemical industries, the military, and the economy. Since then, bilateral ties have mushroomed, with Iran supplying over 12 million barrels of crude oil and gas condensate in 2023. In exchange, Venezuela has delivered about the same volume of fuel oil cargo to Iran. Most shipments are carried by National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) vessels– in both directions: once discharged of Iranian crude and gas in Venezuelan ports, the same NITC tankers load Venezuelan fuel oil on the return leg to Iran. Read more
"Last week, Bloomberg reported that the American Club had insured more ships suspected of violating sanctions than other comparable insurers, according to data from United Against Nuclear Iran, a privately funded group advocating stronger sanctions on Iran."
The Iran nuclear deal is done. And the world's biggest companies have already visited Tehran ready to strike a deal when sanctions end. These businesses will add even more to Iran's bottom line. And that means continued development of nuclear technologies and more cash for Hamas and Hezbollah.