- Iran is finding ways to overcome US oil export sanctions.
- The US has become increasingly wary of Iran.
- Israel wants Iran’s power in the Middle East region reduced.
Iran is allegedly rebranding oil exports destined for China and other major oil import nations. This is according to a new report published by Radio Farda. The embattled state, which is reeling from US sanctions, has been able to export over nine million barrels of oil by rebranding consignments in Malaysia to make it seem like the cargo originated from there.
Malaysian customs records indicate that Iran sent just over 7 million barrels to the nation in the first four months of the year. The data, however, indicates that no oil deliveries were made, and ownership codes were changed on arrival. At the same time, oil exports from Iran to China have fallen multifold.
The US government, which has slapped Iran with oil export sanctions, has yet to comment on the matter.
A Growing Rift between the US and Iran
The Trump administration has grown increasingly wary of Iran in recent months. It recently voided three of four section waivers availed to European, Chinese, and Russian contractor companies working on the Iranian nuclear program.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently pronounced that the nations should halt cooperation with Iran immediately. Participant nations have lamented the move, which helped boost the transparency of the program.
EU Spokesman Peter Stano has issued a communique censuring the untimely decision. The following is an excerpt from his statement:
“The US decision will now make it more difficult for the international community to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.”
The US is moving to prevent Iran from enhancing its plutonium generation capabilities. The decision to halt the project was made at a time when the Arak IR-40 water reactor was being redesigned to make it more efficient in burning natural uranium to generate plutonium.
The United States is concerned by the new development. It would enable the facility to produce enough fuel to build several nuclear bombs each year. Such an outcome would tip the balance of military might in the region, and make Israel especially uncomfortable.
The US, Israel, and Iran are locked in a dangerous proxy war in the Middle East. The clash led to the assassination of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani earlier this year. Iran retaliated by bombing a US military base.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is keen to check Iran’s power, especially now that Israel is planning to annex the Jordan Valley portions of the West Bank. Iranians are fiercely supportive of the Palestinian cause. They celebrate al-Quds Day each year to express their solidarity with Palestinians.
The Netanyahu administration has announced that formal talks on the annexation will begin next month. The Trump administration has given the Israeli leadership tremendous leeway in handling the matter. EU nations and the UK have expressed their displeasure with the expropriation.