Saturday, 19 September 2020 | 20:39
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Cutting Off Iran’s Remaining Oil Exports Risks Security Of Persian Gulf

Thursday, 16 January 2020 | 16:00

U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil have cut Iran’s oil revenues drastically over the past year. Still, Iran continues to export some oil, mostly to Syrian and Chinese customers. On Maria Bartiromo’s Sunday morning talk show, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin revealed that the U.S. is working with China to reduce the amount of Iranian oil the Chinese are clandestinely importing in contravention of U.S. sanctions.

“I sat down with the Chinese officials. They flew in a delegation to meet with us and the State Department to talk about this. They’ve cut off all of the state companies from buying oil, and we’re working closely with them to make sure that they cease all additional oil activities.”

The United States may want to reconsider trying to reduce Iran’s oil exports even further. According to data from, Iran is only exporting 577,000 barrels per day, primarily to China and Syria. TankerTracker’s data show that China imports Iranian oil for its state-owned refineries, small independent refineries and via Malaysia, where the Iranian oil is blended with other oil to disguise its origin. Allowing Iran to export this relatively small amount of oil clandestinely helps ensure the security of the Strait of Hormuz for all ships in the Persian Gulf.

Iran has repeatedly threatened to take action to close this narrow passageway to shipping if it is not permitted to ship oil out of the Persian Gulf. Whether Iran has the capability to shut down shipping in the Strait of Hormuz is not assured, but 500,000 barrels per day is not worth finding out. Once Iran has nothing to lose by blocking the Strait of Hormuz, the risks increase that it might try.
Source: Forbes

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