May 28, 2014 | Quote

State Dept. Pressed Over Iran Sanctions – Busting As Concerns Mount About Eroded Leverage

The exchange came a few days after Timothy Wilson, a visiting fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracy (FDD), published numbers based on Iranian statements and tanker capacities that suggested that four months in, Tehran had already exceeded a capacity greater than the six-month average from last year:

Iran’s crude oil supertankers are likely exporting more oil than planned and agreed upon under the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA). The U.S. Department of State stated in its overview of the JPOA that while the P5+1 negotiate with Iran over its illicit nuclear program, the goal was to maintain oil exports at “current average levels during the JPOA period.” The average for 2013 Iranian tanker movements was 190.2 million barrels capacity for a six month period, or 31.7 million barrels per month. Iran has apparently exceeded this six month total already.

In the period from January 20 to February 20, 2014, sailings totaled 47.249 million barrels capacity, rising to 60.142 million barrels in the next month before falling slightly to 41.761 million barrels the month after. But in the period April 20 to May 20, 2014, sailings rose again to 49.772 million barrels capacity. Thus, only four months into the six month JPOA period, sailings so far have totaled 198.9 million barrels capacity at an average of 49.725 million barrels per month – already a greater amount than the average of a full six month period in 2013.

At stake are deepening worries that Iranian sanctions-busting will erode Western leverage as negotiators try to wrap up a deal with Iran before a self-imposed July deadline. FDD Executive Director Mark Dubowitz worried last week that eroding leverage may prevent American diplomats from securing “[a]n agreement that is verifiable, enforceable and that prevents Iran from pursuing both a uranium and a plutonium pathway to a nuclear weapon would be a tremendous achievement.”


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