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After yet another month of bumper imports of Iranian oil by China and India, the country’s exports appear to be pushing well beyond levels the US and its allies had indicated as acceptable under the terms of their interim nuclear deal with Iran.
Imports of Iranian crude oil and condensates rose by close to 200,000 b/d in April versus March levels, to breach the 1.4mn b/d mark. By 2011 standards, this would represent a disastrous month for Iranian exports, which were then averaging upwards of 2.5mn b/d.
Fast forward three years however, and the figures are still alarming – but for a very different reason. April marked the fourth straight month of 1.25mn b/d-plus oil export volumes for Iran, and the second month since the start of the year in which oil exports have exceeded 1.4mn b/d. This, at a time when Iran’s oil exports were required to stay close to end-2013 levels (implying around 1mn b/d), as per the terms of the interim nuclear deal – the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) – signed between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers last November.
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