Iran's Oil Revenue Dropped to Less than $20 Billion, Rouhani Says

IRAN -- A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency on August 26, 2020 shows President Hassan Rouhani meeting with the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Tehran

Referring to the pressure placed on Iran by United States sanctions, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani claimed that Iran's oil revenues dropped "from $120 billion in 2011" to "just over $ 20 billion" in 2019.

In a joint video conference with the heads of the other two other branches of the government on Sunday, September 13, Rouhani said that although U.S. sanctions were largely responsible for Iran's financial problems, that the U.S. had also recently suffered "unprecedented political and legal setbacks."

Rouhani also claimed that despite widespread economic problems, the Iranian people still "trust" the Islamic Republic government.

Rouhani's comments contrasted with those made by Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri in June, when he said that Iran's annual revenue from oil, the nation's primary currency-earner, had decreased from $100 billion to about $8 billion in 2019.

Several months later, Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, the Deputy President and Head of the Budget and Planning Organization of the Islamic Republic, said in September that "Tehran cannot sell even a drop of oil."

Nobakht claimed that even when Iran sells its oil, the nation cannot make the relevant financial transaction and receive its money.

Iranian officials presenting wholly different and sometimes contradictory statistics in their speeches has always been an expected and long-standing feature of the country's government.

In May 2018, the U.S. exited the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, and subsequently reimposed batches of devastating economic sanctions on Iran. Since then, President Rouhani's government has ceased providing official data on the country's oil production and exports.

According to Bloomberg's data, China remains the key destination for Iranian oil with observed crude and condensate flows totaling 133,000 barrels a day in August.

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