Even friendly countries have stopped purchasing Iran's oil fearing U.S. penalties, Iran's First Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri said on Tuesday, December 2. However, he claimed that Iran is still exporting some oil despite the pressures without saying where the oil is being exported to.
"The enemy has not managed to drive our oil exports to zero, but under their pressure even countries that are our friends and have so far been the closest countries to us do not dare to buy Iran's oil. We have to resort to other methods to sell our oil," Jahangiri said and added that "the U.S. has shut down all the main paths of the country's economic activities."
Iranian officials have so far not given any official account of how much oil is being exported, but by all indications a limited amount of refined fuels are being shipped to neighboring countries using a smuggling network.
On November 5 Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, a member of the National Security and Foreign Policy of the Iranian Parliament said Iran's oil exports is currently twenty times less than before the U.S. sanctions were enforced.
Before the sanctions were put into effect a year ago Iran exported about 2.5 barrels of crude oil a day. Iran's daily crude oil exports must have dropped to 125,000 barrels now, if Falahatpisheh's statement is correct.
In its budget bill for next year the Rouhani administration has included daily exports of 870,000 barrels of crude oil despite the dismal current circumstances. Some analysts say including this figure is an attempt to conceal the perceived budget deficit.
The budget for the current year (March 21, 2019 to March 20, 2020) was based on daily exports of 1.54 million barrels of oil and condensates.
IMF estimates a large budget deficit for Iran this year and next. For the current year and 2020, the estimate says the shortfall will be equal to 8 percent of the country’s GDP.
On November 12 President Rouhani admitted that without oil exports the country will go broke. "Iran's situation has never been as difficult and complicated," he said.