Iran circumvents sanctions to sell oil in a “grey market”

Iran’s state media quoted Deputy Oil Minister Amir Hossein Zamaninia as saying the country will continue to export oil and has mobilized all its resources to sell oil in a “grey market”, bypassing sanctions by the United States that Tehran sees as illegitimate.

Washington’s intentions are to halting Tehran’s ballistic missile program and curbing its regional power. Last year, the United States withdrew from a 2015 Iran nuclear deal with world powers and told buyers of Iranian oil to stop purchases by May 1, 2019 or face sanctions.

State news agency IRNA quoted Minister Zamaninia as saying, “We have mobilized all of the country’s resources and are selling oil in the ‘grey market’.” Though he gave no details about it, Iran has been widely reported to have sold oil at steep discounts and often through private firms during sanctions earlier this decade.

Giving no figures for current sales, Minister Zamaninia said, “We certainly won’t sell 2.5 million barrels per day as under the (nuclear deal). We will need to make serious decisions about our financial and economic management, and the government is working on that. This is not smuggling. This is countering sanctions which we do not see as just or legitimate.