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Official Claims Iran Repatriated 70% Of Petrochemical Export Revenues

FILE - In this Sept. 4, 2018 file photo, released by an official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency shows a part of the Pardis petrochemical complex facilities in Assalouyeh on the northern coast of the Persian Gulf, Iran.

An official in the Iranian petrochemical industries says that Iran has repatriated some 70% of the hard currency revenue earned from the export of petrochemical products during the first two months of the current Iranian year (March21 and May 20), Fars news agency reported on Monday, May 20.

U.S. sanctions on Iran banking ties with the world make it very hard to transfer funds earned from exports.

In addition,it was said during recent court hearings about a financial corruption case in Iran, that subcontractors who were tasked to circumvent U.S. sanctions and sell petrochemical products on behalf of the Iranian government in previous years, had pocketed the foreign currency causing major losses for state-owned petrochemical companies.

In a previous case of circumventing international oil sanctions, an Iranian middleman embezzled billions of dollars from export revenues. He is currently in prison, convicted to death.

Ahmad Mahdavi Abhar, added that the remaining 30% will be spent on purchasing new equipment and repaying debts abroad, however, he did not elaborate further.

He said, "Petrochemical companies are the powerful arms of the government to provide hard currency while the country is suffering from the effects of sanctions."

The head of Iran's Exporters Confederation Mohammad Lahouti had said in January that most of hard currency earnings from petrochemicals exports is repatriated while a small portion of earnings from other exports return to the country as hard currency. It is not clear why it would be easier to repatriate hard currency from one sector of exports than from the rest.

The official added that "the enemies of the Islamic Republic cannot do any harm to Iran's petrochemical products export," but did not say why.