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Iran’s Oil Customers Cut and Run

The EU isn’t the only big customer launching a boycott against Iran this summer. Joining Asian countries like Japan and South Korea, Turkey is set to become the latest customer to slash imports of Iranian crude.

Turkey, fifth on the list of Iran’s top buyers, has vowed to decrease imports of Iranian crude by 20 percent. This sours business with Iran’s last real customer in Europe, while the rest of the continent prepares for the full-on ban in July, as Reuters reports:

Most European refiners have gradually stopped lifting Iranian crude ahead of the EU embargo. From July 1 Turkey will remain effectively the sole buyer of Iranian crude in Europe…

Turkey has steeply cut oil imports from Iran in May and June…to avoid U.S. sanctions after official trade data showed stubbornly high imports in April.

CNN has more on the broader squeeze on Iran:

Iran oil production has fallen to a 10-year low and could drop further as sanctions over its nuclear programme disrupt an industry already suffering from years of under-investment. Tehran produced 3.38m b/d in February, according to the International Energy Agency, the lowest level since late 2002.

All this is heartening news for those in Washington hoping that sanctions will cut into Tehran’s chest of gold, or else convince the mullahs to bring their nuclear program to the bargaining table. But thus far sanctions have done little to stop the nuclear program, and those who argue that tight sanctions only reinforce the Iranian leadership’s desire for a nuclear weapon may have a point. (“Sanctions can not hamper the Iranian nation’s progress and will only deepen its hatred towards the West,” said Ayatollah Khamenei a few days ago.)

Nevertheless, sanctions are among the sharpest of the unfortunately rather dull tools available to Washington for this particular project. And they may yet convince the Iranian people that cheap gasoline and a less volatile currency are more useful things to have than a Bomb.

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  • silia

    Proof that Jews rule the world.

  • Kris

    “‘Sanctions can not hamper the Iranian nation’s progress and will only deepen its hatred towards the West,’ said Ayatollah Khatami a few days ago.”

    Ayatollah Khamenei!

  • rkka

    “… or else convince the mullahs to bring their nuclear program to the bargaining table.”

    Which nuclear program? The civilian nuclear power and medical program hey have every right to have?

    Or the nuclear weapons program that they might not have in the first place, like the one people were utterly convinced Iraq had a decade ago?

  • Haim

    I understand that “the Iranian people” is a figure of speech. Still, it is maybe worth to remember that the Iranian people have no say in this matter – or any other.

  • Cunctator

    In the 1930s, Stalin killed millions (directly and indirectly) in his drive to collectivise Societ agriculture and obtain the resources to industrialise the country. People worked longer hours than ever, appalling living conditions and suffered early deaths. They did so both out of fear of the regime or because they believed in the ideals that the Communists were preaching.

    We should stop imagining that economic hardship will dissuade Iran from seeking nuclear weapons. Given the choice between achieving that aim — and the belief it will enhance national security and prestige — and economic distress, it is almost certain that the regime will choose nukes. The people will follow, either out of fear or because they share the same thinking.

    The choice is, I fear, a very straightforward one for Washington: accept that Iran will obtain the bomb (a complete foreign policy defeat that will reverberate for years to come) or do something to attempt to prevent that from happening (a military attack with uncertain consequences). The sanctions are all about convincing Americans and people in the estern democracies that something is being done: they are not really about hurting Iran.

  • Vincent Mohan

    In 1941 sanctions seemed to be a good way to bring Japan to the bargaining table. What they did was to give Japan the will and time to formulate and launch the attack on Pearl Harbor before we were rearmed and ready to fight. The sanctions against Iran could make them choose a target in either Europe or the US and strike.

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