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Veiled Diplomacy and Surging Oil Exports: Unraveling the Secrets of Iran’s Economic Resurgence Amidst Biden’s Peace Pursuits

Payam Javan: In the midst of President Biden’s diplomatic efforts to reach understandings with the Islamic Republic regarding its nuclear program, the details of these negotiations are veiled in secrecy, evading Congressional review requirements However, this secrecy is contradicted by a surge in Iranian oil exports, suggesting the weakening of the sanctions against Iran. In August, Iran exported 2.2 million oil barrels per day, significantly surpassing previous export figures. This influx of oil revenue, around $150 million daily, contrasts with the time of President Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign, which reduced Iran’s daily oil exports to approximately 300,000 barrels.

China is Iran’s primary recipient, importing 1.5 million barrels daily, but the increased global supply could potentially lower fuel costs for the United States. Despite Secretary Blinken’s recent assertion of maintaining sanctions and pushing back against Iran’s regional destabilization, the release of $6 billion in Iranian assets held in South Korean banks as part of a deal to free American hostages reflects the weakening sanctions regime. This sum may expand to $16 billion with additional unfrozen funds. Notably, not all detained Americans were included in this arrangement, sparking debate about its effectiveness.

As Iran benefits from this economic relief, the process of converting the $6 billion ransom into euros is expected to take a couple more months. Meanwhile, President Raisi’s upcoming meeting with Prime Minister Kishida at the United Nations assembly is anticipated to address the unfreezing of $3 billion from Japanese banks. An encouraging development involves the seizure of an oil tanker, Suez Rajan, smuggling Iranian oil in violation of sanctions. While some doubt the Biden administration’s enforcement of sanctions without public pressure, there are calls from senators to utilize the seized funds for compensating victims of Iranian terrorism.

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Amidst these circumstances, President Biden’s pursuit of an Israel-Saudi peace treaty coincides with both nations’ shared concerns over Iran’s expansionist agenda. However, concerns arise as the Biden administration appears to provide economic relief to Iran while aiming for peace in the region. The surge in oil exports, coupled with the unfreezing of assets, raises questions about the effectiveness of maintaining pressure on Iran’s behavior through sanctions.

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