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.
What the EU Ban on Russian Oil Could Mean for Iran
On December 5, the European Union will ban Russian crude oil imports EU tankers will also be barred from transporting, insuring, and financing Russian oil shipments. Northern Europe – previously Russia’s biggest customer – has already slashed seaborne Russian oil imports by over 90%, according to Bloomberg. To make up for the deficit, Russia has rerouted much of its supply to India, China, and other Asian countries at discounted prices.
This is bad news for Iran, which now faces competition from Moscow in China. Read more
In November 2020, UANI identified 70 foreign vessels suspected of involvement in the illicit transfer of Iranian crude oil and/or petroleum products. Two years later, the list has grown to 280. This suspected ghost armada, distinct from but complementing Iran’s own NITC tanker fleet, has skirted U.S. sanctions and exploited regulatory loopholes to ship millions of barrels of Iranian oil. Read more
…Now US advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) says the former Pegas has discharged 700,000 barrels of crude in Banias. The tanker was released last month in coordination with the freeing of the two Greek ships. The cargo has previously been reported as Iranian in origin. Greece confirmed it detained the vessel due to European Union sanctions against Russia, however. UANI chief of staff Claire Jungman told Reuters that Iran’s shipments to Syria “are regarded as a way of strengthening the country’s regional position and are also a major part of the regime’s survival strategy”. The Lana’s last reported position was 21 November off Banias. Syria is undergoing heavy fuel rationing as a response to shortages.