(New York, N.Y.) — A new report submitted to Congress from the Biden Administration reveals that U.S. sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran as part of the previous administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign have been effective in stymying the regime’s ability to conduct international trade, resulting in losses of more than $70 billion since 2018. The report also showed that Iran incurred a trade deficit of roughly $18 billion after only one year of economic sanctions, falling from $46 billion in 2019 to $28 billion in 2020. This includes a reported $7 billion drop in bilateral trade between Iran and China alone. The findings, disclosed in an unclassified but non-public mandatory report, underscores the effectiveness of economic sanctions in constraining Iran’s financial resources.
Under relaxed economic sanctions and enforcement, trade between Iran and China is once again flowing, predominantly through regular sales of heavily discounted Iranian oil, which China procures through sophisticated illicit trafficking schemes.
Each month, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) publishes a blog post outlining monthly estimates of Iran’s crude oil exports. Data produced in the August 2021 Iran tanker Tracking shows that China remains the number one destination of Iranian oil, with 613,332 barrels per day being shipped there. As the Biden Administration pushes to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), it is imperative the pressure on international trade with Iran, especially in terms of its oil trade, continues.
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 percent 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.
With Iran’s “Ghost Armada” generating unconditional financial support from China, Western attempts to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, or exporting terrorism, are being crippled. Sanctions against Iran must be maintained, and enforcement made more stringent.
To read UANI’s resource Iran Tanker Tracking, please click here.