Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran, June 11, 2019 - In an interview with the Islamic Consultancy Assembly News Agency, the Iranian Majlis (parliament) media arm, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh made revealing statements highlighting the gloomy prospects for the mullahs’ regime in Iran.
“The smart sanctions imposed by the U.S. have reached a point where all paths countering sanctions are blocked. In this recent round [of sanctions], the U.S. has made it more difficult to circumvent the sanctions and we are struggling hard to surpass this period,” Zanaganeh said in his June 8 interview.
“Under the current circumstances, I don’t want to reveal some issues. Some people want to put pressure on me, they want to put me in a position so that I reveal some of our activities,” he added.
“The ports of other countries are put under sanctions. In the previous period, United Nations sanctions were persistent. This time around, however, the U.S. personally is persisting and its resolve to implement these sanctions is increased many times in comparison to the past and it has created a sophisticated organization for it. Over the past five or six years, the Americans have reached an evil maturity regarding the so-called smart sanctions. It means they’ve reached a point where they want to prevent all our paths of countering sanctions,” the Iranian oil minister added in his two-hour interview.
“The difference now with the [1980s Iran-Iraq] war era is that back then we could sell any amount of oil we wanted. We did not have a problem procuring ships and, of course, we could receive the oil money from any bank in the world and buy any goods with it. Now, selling oil, getting ships, and moving money and even buying many types of goods have become difficult. This round of sanctions is even very different from the last one. In fact, the harshest organized sanctions in history have been implemented and applied against the [Iranian] regime. Therefore, we need to know what an extreme war we are facing. If we don’t understand this extremity and difficulty, there will be wrong analysis,” he further said.
Zanganeh, who has served in different roles, including minister of energy, construction jihad, and oil, all under different regime administrations for over 32 years, also said that the French oil giant Total did its best to obtain a waiver from the U.S. government yet failed to do so.
“Not that there is any purpose [that Total] wants to stop its activities in developing the development project of phase 11 of the Southern Pars. No! This company did its best without avail. A Chinese company is facing similar circumstances,” he added.
“Right now, there isn’t even a single country that has waivers to buy oil from Iran and even natural gas condensates are added to the sanctioned items. The shipping and banking sanctions are harsher than the previous time,” Zanganeh said.
About China, the Iranian oil minister said that in the previous round of sanctions, they did not reduce their oil imports from Iran. Following the month of May, however, China has not purchased any oil from Iran.
“There were maybe about ten individuals who contacted us every day to buy oil. However, 70 percent of them were not real customers. Chances are they were seeking our intelligence about how we sell oil and how we want to receive our money. They want to find out everything about our system,” he said about Iran’s sanction circumvention efforts and how they are exposed.
Zanganeh also made an appeal to the opposing factions among the ruling elite whose infighting is further weakening Tehran, by reminding them of their common archrival.
“I say we should get along and be kind to each other. Right now, we are very rude to each other. Why are we like that? We are a group and need to be kind to each other. The [PMOI/MEK] have now infiltrated the White House. Have we forgotten that? Mr. Bolton is now the representative of the [PMOI/MEK] in the White House! They are working there against us! Why aren’t we kind to each other?” he asked pleadingly.
The regime ruling Iran refers to the Iranian opposition group People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) as the “Monafeghin.”