Analysts and officials state that the oil price increase and complicated financial measures have helped Iran survive against the destructive consequences of sanctions.
Iran's oil production has reached its minimum level in the past twenty years; a level of production an example of which can only be found during the Iran-Iraq war and the reason behind this reduction in production is sanctions that the US and the European Union are exerting against Iran. At the same time, last week, US officials opened a file reporting 60,000 financial transactions between Iran and the British Standard Chartered Bank. 99.9% of these transactions with Iran were done in dollars and inside the US. The issue of this bank breaking the law is discussed while the 335 page report of the Senate about a decade of sanctions being ignored by HSBC, another British bank, has attracted the attention of the media. This bank has also made at least 25,000 deals with Iran, the value of which was 19 billion dollars and 90% of these transactions were done with accounts in US banks.
Based on a Financial Times report, these analyses show that Iran can still bypass sanctions. Of course, it is not yet clear how long bypassing sanctions can continue. David Reese, an expert at an espionage consulting institute, believes that by increasing the punishment and the expenses which the parties who deal with Iran must pay and the sensitivity of the officials to recognize them, the number of these institutes which risk cooperation with Iran will gradually decrease.
Meanwhile, Iranian businessmen use other methods like money exchange and money order. On the other hand, China also plays an important role in this regard. Chinese banks, more than any other bank in Asia, welcome Iranian businessmen and continue to open credits. This is while it seems that Iran has convinced China and other Asian customers of its oil to accept buyback arrangements with regard to the selling of oil.
Meanwhile, Iranian businessmen state that small European banks, especially those in countries which face an economic crisis, still help in financial transactions with Iran through foreign citizens and money transferring countries like Turkey, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and some Arab countries of the Persian Gulf.
With this method, finding the source and destination of money will become more difficult for American officials. On the other hand, those Iranians who have dual citizenship can also help in transferring money for Iran by receiving fees and bypassing the sanctions. Of course, transferring money through this method needs time and can lead to delays in importing of goods and increase the expenses.
This is while the increase of oil prices has also helped Iran in this regard. Iranian analysts and Western diplomats in Tehran state that as long as the oil price is above 100 dollars per barrel, Iran can continue its disagreement with the international demand to stop its nuclear program. The reason is that Iran’s oil export to Asia still continues and the US has rendered countries like China exempt from sanctions. On the other hand, the problem of insurance for Iranian oil ships has almost been solved by changing the flag of the ships and this by itself can help the continuation of Iran’s oil exports.