Iran Oil Exports Plummet To 400,000 Bpd; European Payment System to Circumvent U.S. Sanctions

DESPARDES News Monitor — From 2.5 million barrels per day in April 2018– just before the U.S. withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and moved to re-impose sanctions on Iran’s oil industry, Iran’s oil exports have drastically plunged –in May the figure fell to 400,000 bpd.

That figure is less than half of Iranian oil exports last month, according to industry sources and tanker-tracking data cited by Reuters.

The United States had given eight countries six-month waivers to continue buying oil from Iran after the Trump Administration re-imposed sanctions on the Iranian oil industry in November. The US, however, pursued a maximum pressure campaign against Iran last month and put an end to all sanction waivers for all Iranian oil buyers, beginning in May.

Germany, like other EU countries are importers of Iranian oil and other trading activities– they opposes Trump’s sanction calling it unilateral.

On Monday, Germany announced a European payment system designed to circumvent US sanctions on Iran will be ready soon.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said earlier the payment system, known as INSTEX, (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) will soon be ready to go after months of work.

“This is an instrument of a new kind so it’s not straightforward to operationalize it,” he said, pointing to the complexity of trying to install a totally new payment system.

“But all the formal requirements are in place now, and so I’m assuming we’ll be ready to use it in the foreseeable future,” added Mass about the system for barter-based trade with Iran.

Maas met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran this week as part of European efforts to salvage the historic JCPOA nuclear pact and defuse rising US-Iranian tension.

Iran and Germany held “frank and serious” talks on saving the 2015 deal with world powers, Zarif told a joint press conference.

“Tehran will cooperate with EU signatories of the deal to save it,” Zarif said.