Iran to receive $7bn in sanctions relief

24 November 2013

Oil exports to continue at 1 million barrels a day

Iran is set to receive as much as $7bn over the next six months from the relief of economic sanctions under a new interim agreement reached with Western powers in Geneva.

The agreement provides for the release of $4.2bn in frozen assets, and sets the stage for Iran to continue crude oil exports at current levels, according to a statement issued by the Whitehouse.

The agreement was reached between Iran and the P5+1 partners, the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China, along with the European Union on 23 November.

Under the deal, the US and its allies will provide temporary “modest relief”, while continuing to apply sanctions, allowing the Iranian government access to a portion of the revenue denied through sanctions. 

“This relief is structured so that the overwhelming majority of the sanctions regime, including the key oil, banking, and financial sanctions architecture, remains in place”, says the statement.

The US estimates that the vast majority of Iran’s $100bn worth of foreign exchange holdings are inaccessible or restricted due to the current sanctions.

Over the next six months, Iran will not be able to increase its crude oil sales which have been slashed to around 1 million barrels a day (b/d), from an average of 2.5 million b/d in 2012.

“That’s a loss of more than $80bn since the beginning of 2012 that Iran will never be able to recoup,” said the statement. 

Under the agreement, the EU crude oil ban will remain in effect, holding Iran to exports of 1 million b/d, which will result in continued losses of $4bn a month.

Since sanctions took effect in February, Iran’s list of crude oil buyers has shrunk to just six nations, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Turkey and Taiwan.

Iran produced an average of 2.651 million barrels a day (b/d) of crude oil in October, said oil producers’ group Opec in its latest monthly oil market report. This is down from 2.9 million b/d over 2012 and 3.63 million b/d in 2011.

The deal also suspends some sanctions on gold, precious metals, the automotive sector and petrochemical exports, which could potentially provide another $1.5bn in revenue. Lifting the ban on auto exports could earn Iran another $500m.

A MEED Subscription...

Subscribe or upgrade your current package to support your strategic planning with the MENA region’s best source of business information. Proceed to our online shop below to find out more about the features in each package.

Get Notifications