IRAN: Oil Exports Up Again

There are signs, however, that they will face all new challenges when talks resume. Iranian Oil Minister BijanZanganeh has already rejected the limits to oil exports that were supposedly imposed by the interim agreement that was reached in November. However, the Obama administration has steadfastly maintained that Iran would comply with the overall limits by the time the interim period ended.

With exports having risen again in May, compliance is now a “mathematical impossibility” according to The Tower website. When pressed by journalists on the topic, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki rejected that claim, saying that there is a “range of data” to be looked at which might still support the notion that decreased exports in June could bring Iran in compliance with the agreement.

However, Psaki’s comments may be self-defeating. If alternative data may show lower-than-reported exports for the month, it is equally possible that other alternatives may show those exports to be higher than reported. This is quite plausible in light of the fact that Iran has been known to evade sanctions by bartering for its oil exports and avoiding monitored international payment systems. This may still be occurring in spite of temporary sanctions relief.