Amid a deep economic crisis Iranian officials are emphasizing a boost to oil exports as a key achievement of the current administration. Although the key gains were made in late-2020 under former president Hassan Rouhani, amid the US presidential transition, officials are quick to attribute them to President Ebrahim Raisi, who only took office in August 2021 (MEES, 6 August 2021).

Officials are also praising a windfall of petroleum export revenues last year. Iran’s Central Bank governor Ali Salehabadi told Iranian TV on 15 January that revenues have been “much better than the past.” The line was also held by National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) CEO Mohsen Khojastehmehr who said sales have “increased well” and “export oil money is being collected.” The latter is a reference to Iran’s difficulty in getting paid for oil exports amid international banking sanctions – sums still owed for past crude deliveries include $7bn frozen in two Korean banks. (CONTINUED - 1051 WORDS)