No one exactly knows how much crude oil the Iranian government extracts, produces, and exports. However, massive budget deficits, a significant shortage of foreign currency, and the national currency’s devaluation against the U.S. dollar show Iran’s oil revenues have drastically declined.
Recently, Tehran appealed to and even threatened South Korea to release its blocked money but received nothing as a result. In addition to South Korea, China—as Tehran’s strategic ally—has refused to release the Iranian government’s frozen assets.
How Much Oil Did Tehran Export in 2019?
According to official statistics, Iran exported one-third of the oil that had been predicted in the 2019-2020 budget bill. Observers forecast that this value will decrease in the current year. However, the government has not yet provided details about the exported crude oil and condensate in 2019.
According to senior officials in President Hassan Rouhani’s administration, the oil revenue was roughly around $8-9 billion in 2019. The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Abdolnasser Hemmati, First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, and economic deputy Mohammad Nahavandian announced the same number in separated remarks.
“In 2019, the country’s oil revenue—and not just the administration—was $8.9 billion. Therefore, given the National Development Fund’s 20 percent stake and the National Oil Company’s 14.5 percent stake, the administration’s total and gas condensate exports were over $5.8 billion. In this context, Iran has exported 490,000 barrels per day (BPD) based on receiving $50 per barrel,” Donyay-e Eghtesad daily wrote on May 24.
Giving False Hopes Instead of Real Stats
In this respect, MPs questioned the administration’s representative about false estimations. Why did the administration close the oil presell amount on 1.5 million BPD despite the sanctions? MPs asked.
“‘If we close the budget plan on 500,000 BPD instead of 1.5 million, it means that we have succumbed to the U.S.,’ said the administration’s representative. In other words, in a radio program, an official of the Planning and Budget Organization explicitly acknowledged that the administration noted high figures in the budget bill to create hopeful space,” Fars news agency, affiliated to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), reported on May 24.
Furthermore, according to customs statistics, the government’s non-petrol income has reached $13.556 billion in the past six months, the lowest figure in the past decade. “In the past six months, non-petrol exports declined by 34 percent in comparison to the last year, which is the most severe drop in the span of two decades. The country’s imports also yielded a 21.66 percent decrease compared to the last year and have reached $16.783 billion. Therefore, Iran’s financial interaction was $30.349 billion, the poorest foreign trade in the past decade,” Mashregh daily wrote on October 10.
Significant Drop in Pistachio and Carpet Exports
Once upon a time, Iran had monopolized the pistachio and carpet worldwide market. However, the government has lost these privileges and failed its traditional clients.
“Regrettably, we are losing the pistachio position in global markets due to the dire export conditions… We can earn more U.S. dollars if the administration does not make trouble for [pistachio] exporters with insisting on its routines. However, the administration insists on its instructions,” Fararu website quoted Mehdi Seifoddini, secretary of Farmers’ Union in Kerman province, as saying on October 13.
Meanwhile, in 2018, Iran earned $238 million through exporting humanmade carpet. However, this industry met a sharp decline in 2019 and reached $73 million.
“In 2018, Iran’s carpet exports to the U.S. as the main intention for Iranian carpets, and our traditional market stopped. In this regard, the carpet export decreased around $200 million while we faced a drastic decline in 2019 and the value of carpet exports reached less than $100 million,” said Hamed Chaman-Rokh, member of the managing board of Manmade Carpet Exporters’ Union, in an interview with Jahan-e Eghtesad daily on September 10.
In conclusion, given the Iranian government’s insistence on irresponsible and costly policies inside the country and abroad, Iran’s non-petrol revenues fell in the fate of oil revenues. However, the ayatollahs still continue funding extremist proxies in the Middle East region, advancing their ballistic missile programs and nuclear ambitions.
In this respect, the current ruling system that has cut Iran from the worldwide banking system and international commerce is the main barrier to its industry and development. They also stockpiled billions of dollars in personal accounts or financial institutions rather than aiding needy people who sell their organs or even their newborn babies to make ends meet. They also imposed the IRGC’s additional budget on the country, while many people are losing their lives to the health infrastructure’s weakness.