According to Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi, oil exports have dropped about 40 percent over the past year, and old revenues have dropped 45 percent, reflecting the difficulty of keeping the exports flowing in the face of US sanctions and the even greater difficulty in actually getting paid for what was exported.
The admissions came in testimony to the Iranian parliament and points to growing budgetary constraints in the nation, as the Obama Administration continues to impose more and broader sanctions on Iran’s civilian economy in general.
Qasemi had previously made repeated claims that the ministry had found ways to circumvent the sanctions, and today’s admission, while not exactly shocking, reflects the difficulty of keeping up that denial while the revenue plummets.
Sanctions have kept Iran from accessing international banking systems, which has made exports of oil, as well as imports of food and medicine, a dicey proposition. Iran has increasingly turned to barter trades and the use of gold in international commerce as a way to keep goods crossing the border.