02/20/2019, 10.58
IRAN - CHINA - USA
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Despite US sanctions, Iranian oil sales grow

Exports at the beginning of 2019 exceeded the forecasts of experts and industry. In January, 1.3 million barrels per day. In December, the figure was under one million. Race to purchase before the Washington’s final sanctions. Beijing and Teheran strengthen partnership.

Tehran (AsiaNews) - Despite the pressure and threats from the White House, Iranian oil exports in January 2019 exceeded expectations and, even for the current month, the figure remains stable. The confirmation comes from industry sources and experts who note that some regular buyers have increased orders taking advantage of some exemptions from US sanctions.

According to data provided by Refinitiv Eikon and a company that tracks exports, in February the average shipment is about 1.25 million barrels per day (bpd). In January the figure ranged between 1.1 and 1.3 million bpd; a value well above the experts' estimates based on the Iranian crude on Iranian crude and data recorded in December, below one million.

In April last year, before the US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement, the export figure was 2.5 million barrels per day.

Well-informed sources in the industrial world are convinced that "the race is on to buy as much as possible ahead of the tightening" scheduled for the month of May, in which the grip of US sanctions should become even harsher. Of course, the increase in exports sounds like a slap in the face for the administration led by Donald Trump, who considers Iran to be the number one threat to the Middle East. However, a renewed effort to stop the flow is likely to push up oil prices, due to the limitations recently imposed on Venezuela.

At the center of the controversy is the economic, diplomatic and commercial war launched by Trump on the Islamic Republic.

In May 2018, the US pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) brokered by Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, and imposed the toughest sanctions in history against Iran.

The latter cut deeply in Iran’s oil exports, the main goal of the second wave of sanctions that came into effect on 4 November, and negatively impacted the Iranian economy, especially the weakest segments of the country’s population.

Meanwhile, Iran is increasingly looking to China and other regional partners to stem the US, Arab and Israeli encirclement.

A few days before the official visit of the Saudi hereditary prince Mohammed bin Salman to Beijing, the Chinese Communist leadership wanted to strengthen the "strategic trust" with the Islamic Republic.

Meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, welcomed with honors in Beijing, Chinese State Security Councilor Wang Yi praised Tehran's policy and called for "deepening strategic confidence" and "new progress" in the partnership .

The president of the Parliament, Ali Larijani, and Petroleum Minister Bijan Zanganeh accompanied the Foreign Minister. "Our relationship with China - said Zarif - is very valuable. We consider the global strategic partnership between Iran and China as one of the most important relations "for the Islamic Republic.

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