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Iran Continues Fuel Exports To Neighboring Countries Despite Sanctions

IRNA published this photo of fuel tankers lining up near an unidentified border point in Iran. Undated.
IRNA published this photo of fuel tankers lining up near an unidentified border point in Iran. Undated.

The Union of Oil Products Exporters in Iran says shipment of gasoline, diesel and other oil products continue to the Kurdish region of Iraq, despite U.S. sanctions.

Seyyed Hamid Hosseini, the spokesman of the exporters’ union in an interview with the official government news website IRNA said that oil products auctioned off at Tehran’s stock and commodity exchange are exported, although no new consignments were offered to buyers in the last two weeks.

Hosseini did not mention any quantity, but relatively small-scale export of fuel and oil products via land borders to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan take place routinely.

Radio Farda’s sources in Pakistan’s Baluchistan region also report shipments of gasoline and diesel at cheap rates, that have become part of the livelihood of the local people.

Hosseini also explained that low-octane gasoline has been offered on the commodities exchange, mainly for export to Afghanistan, while higher-quality fuel is shipped to Iraq.

IRNA says that auctioning oil products for the purpose of exporting to neighboring countries started in the summer and was well received by the “private sector”.

Iran engaged in the same kind of export activities during the 2011-2015 international sanctions. Later, scandals emerged showing regime insiders making hefty profits from smuggling of oil products and money- laundering.

IRNA quotes the director of Tehran exchange as saying that on a weekly basis an average of $200 million dollars of fuel is auctioned. To buyers.

That would amount to approximately the equivalent of 4 million barrels of crude oil, or around 600,000 barrels per day. But that is still a far-cry from around two million barrels Iran was exporting before full U.S. sanctions took hold in May.

Information coming from Iranian officials cannot be independently verified and some of it can be aimed at people in Iran who expect the government to improve deteriorating economic conditions. But the International Monetary Fund has also estimated daily exports of 600,000 barrels of oil from Iran.