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.