The ultra-conservative daily Kayhan in Tehran has claimed that Iran’s oil exports have surged recently, giving leverage to its negotiators in the nuclear talks.

According to the Kayhan, “the growth in Iran’s trade transactions and the boost in oil sales during the past few months have given the upper hand to Iranian negotiators in Vienna…and they insisted on the Iranian nation’s essential demands and conditions.”

The Kayhan, affiliated with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s office, quoted Raisi as having said on social media: “Although hard work to eliminate the sanctions are seriously on the government’s agenda, efforts to annul the sanctions are not limited to negotiations. Our oil sales have increased to such an extent that we have no financial concerns as the oil money is being repatriated.”

The article appeared the same day when Khamenei delivered a speech to manufacturers, saying Iran has defeated the US sanctions and quoted the State Department spokesman to drive home his message.

In mid-January, Oil minister Javad Owji reaffirmed President Ebrahim Raisi’s claim that Iran is exporting 40 percent more oil since August and is able to receive the money.

However, Iran’s oil exports had dropped to around 200,000 barrels per day in 2019 when the United States imposed full sanctions. But in late 2020, as former US President Donald Trump lost the election Tehran increased its sales through illicit channels. China is the biggest buyer, with shipments disguised as imports from other countries. Nonetheless, the increase can be hardly attributed to the Raisi administration’s effort.

The daily also added that some US senators were annoyed by the development and called on the US President to take firm action against Iran by implementing the sanctions more rigorously.

The Kayhan was referring to a report that said ten Republican Senators wrote to President Joe Biden telling him he is endangering US national security by not enforcing Iranian oil export sanctions. The Senators, including Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Ted Cruz in their letter dated January 28 told Biden that a growing fleet of non-Iranian oil tankers and buyers such as China are not afraid of US retaliation any longer and are trading in hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil a day.

The senators had reminded Biden that an increase in Iran’s oil export will weaken the United States leverage in the nuclear negotiations in Vienna.

The Kayhan further claimed that it was Raisi’s policy of expanding ties with Iran’s neighbors and boosting the relations with Russia and China that has led to an increase in oil export. The daily also claimed that now it is Iran that is exerting maximum pressure on the United States. According to Kayhan, “Iran is not waiting for the JCPOA and the train of Iran’s diplomacy has not stopped in Vienna.”

Meanwhile, reformist daily Sharq during the week questioned the Raisi administration’s “success” in boosting oil export and wrote: “As there are no official statistics about Iran’s oil sales, it is not clear that the 40 percent rise in oil sales is in comparison to which period. Is it 40 percent more than last year? Or more than the same period in the previous year or more than all figures in the history of the oil industry?” Sharq also noted it is not clear how the oil money is being repatriated, “In dollars, in Euros in yens? And how and through which financial channels?”

Source » iranintl