Sanctions targeting Iran oil sector officials sign of US frustration: Expert
A senior energy expert says new US sanctions targeting Iranian Oil Ministry officials are a sign of growing frustration in Washington about the failure of inclusive sanctions imposed in 2018 that were supposed to cut Tehran’s crude exports to zero.
Morteza Behrouzi Far said on Tuesday that blacklisting senior Iranian energy officials, including Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, would fail to choke off Iran’s increasing oil exports.
“The entire oil industry in under (US) sanctions and sanctioning individuals would not have such an impact on the progress of the industry,” Behrouzi Far was quoted by ISNA.
The expert said new rounds of US sanctions imposed on Iran just weeks before the presidential election in the United States should be viewed as a mere theatrical move by President Donald Trump whose position has become more precarious in the run-up to the vote.
Trump’s administration on Monday announced sanctions on Zanganeh and other officials in charge of major operations across the Iranian oil industry.
The announcement came nearly a month after Washington imposed sweeping sanctions on the Iranian financial sector by banning US nationals and others with interests in the US from any transactions involving a group of 18 Iranian banks.
It also came after Iranian tankers successfully delivered a second batch of gasoline cargoes to Venezuela, a country suffering from chronic fuel shortages because of American sanctions.
Some believe sanctions targeting oil industry officials are a sign of Trump’s anger at Iran’s growing exports of gasoline.
Reports last week said Iran had earned nearly $1 billion in new revenues by selling off 28 million barrels of gasoline to unknown customers in Iran’s energy exchange.