Wednesday , 24 July 2024

Iran Stripped of $300 Billion in Oil Revenues Under Sanctions: Rouhani

iranintl – Former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Iran incurred an annual loss of some $100 billion over the past three years due to sanctions that forced the country to sell oil and petrochemicals at discounted rates.

Rouhani accused former president Ebrahim Raisi’s government of “betraying” the Iranian people by causing $300 billion in damages over the course of three years.

Rouhani’s claims come amid a presidential election campaign during which his administration has been harshly criticized by hardliners. His remarks seem to be somewhat exaggerated in terms of the amount of revenue losses. In fact, the Raisi administration has sold much more oil than in 2019-2021, the last three years of Rouhani’s presidency, after the United States imposed sanctions.

After former US president Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA nuclear accord and imposed third-party oil export sanctions on Iran, shipments declined from two million barrels a day to around 250,000. With the election of Joe Biden, China began increasing its oil imports from Iran, which have reached 1.3 million barrels per day.

In addition, even if Iran exported two million barrels, the revenue would still be far below $100 billion, at less than $60 billion at current average prices.

Rouhani’s rebuke also targeted the December 2020 Strategic Action Law to Lift Sanctions and Safeguard Iran’s National Interests, enacted under the leadership of conservative parliament speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf. The bill, intended to pressure the newly elected Biden administration, authorized uranium enrichment at 20%—far higher than the JCPOA limits—and reduced international nuclear inspections by the UN watchdog, the IAEA.

He condemned the legislation as “the worst in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” dismissing it as a “conspiracy” to undermine his administration.

“We have never had a worse law. It was clearly designed to ensure that the people cannot breathe. I know exactly who was behind its design and implementation,” Rouhani said in a Wednesday speech whose text was published Sunday.

As the Biden administration entered into indirect talks with Iran in April 2021 ro revive the JCPOA, Tehran continued to escalate its nuclear violations and eventually the negotiations failed in 2022. Although the Biden administration has relaxed the enforcement of the oil sanctions, Iran’s economy is still under pressure with annual inflation hovering around 50%.

His remarks were in direct response to criticisms from ultra-conservative candidates in the upcoming June 28 elections, who, during televised debates, have lambasted Rouhani’s administration for its “inefficiency” and criticized the 2015 nuclear agreement negotiated under his leadership.