Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Iran Live Coverage: The Regime Admits the Oil Squeeze

0550 GMT: One of the features of Iranian State media is its recurrent declarations that All Is Very Well, despite international sanctions, with the energy sectors. On Monday, Press TV --- extracting carefully from reports in the Western media --- proclaimed, "Japan Refiners Renews Oil Contract" and "Turkey Says Will Extend Iran Oil Deal".

Minister of Oil Rustam Qassemi has been one of the loudest cheerleaders, saying repeatedly that energy production and exports are doing fine. Despite the restrictions, he said, Iran's oil output had increased in 2012 to 4.1 million barrels per day. Qassemi finally admitted last month that sanctions had caused two months of problems for Tehran this summer, but he quickly added that exports had soon recovered and were projected to rise farther.

Yesterday, however, the Minister slipped. He told a Parliamentary commitee that oil exports were in fact down 40%, with revenue falling 45%, from March to December. MPs, rather than keeping the statement behind closed doors, passed the revelation to journalists.

The Minister of Economy had also lapsed in the autumn, with the admission of a 50% fall in exports, and the head of Parliament's National Security Committee, angered with the Ahmadinejad Government, had let out the reality of an even sharper collapse in sales. This, however, was the Minister of Oil --- and former commander in the Revolutionary Guards --- who has supposedly been leading Iran to victory over the sanctions of its enemies.

Press TV has no news of Qassemi's statement this morning. Instead, it headlines, "215 Oil Projects Underway in Iran".

from EA WorldView: EA Iran

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