Iran’s authoritarian regime continues to openly defy sanctions imposed by the U.S.–led international community by increasing oil sales to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) by 40% during 2021.

According to a report by the watchdog group tracking illegal Iranian oil tankers, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), not only were the restrictions not enforced, but oil exports increased by 123 million barrels, noted The Washington Free Beacon Jan. 7. 

The CCP was the largest consumer of the illegally sold oil, purchasing 310 of the nearly 418 million barrels shipped abroad by the Iranian regime. 

The other 108 million barrels were negotiated with the United Arab Emirates, Syrian, Venezuelan, and Russian regimes.

The Iranian regime uses a fleet of foreign-flagged oil tankers, which illegally turn off their onboard tracking devices, thus disappearing from radar to deliver hundreds of millions of barrels of oil.

According to analysts, the millions of dollars obtained strengthen the Iranian regime, which is accused of financing regional terrorism and militias of violent groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

In this situation, criticism turns against the apparent weakness and inaction of the Biden administration, which is not applying the rigor necessary to force Iran to comply with the sanctions.

“The 40% increase in Iran’s oil exports is a result of the Biden administration’s refusal to enforce sanctions,” Claire Jungman, UANI chief of staff, told the Washington Free Beacon. 

She added, “This lack of enforcement is a form of sanctions relief and has led to an improvement in Iran’s economic situation and diminished the leverage and credibility of the U.S. during negotiations.”

He also proposed a control alternative: “To start it should sanction the individual vessels carrying Iranian oil.”

On the other hand, for a senior diplomat, Iran’s strategy is to buy time, “Iran is certainly playing for time and will in the meantime continue to enhance its nuclear program to gain political leverage,” he told Politico on condition of anonymity.

The diplomat also warned that Iran could venture to make more ambitious demands of the United States.

“Iran most probably will only come back to the table in Vienna if the west makes a gesture of goodwill or provides certain concessions to Iran,” the diplomat said.

These massive breaches occur in a context in which the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) commission negotiations resumed two months ago in Vienna attended by representatives of Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom.

The JCPOA negotiated the international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, established in Vienna in 2015 between Iran, the countries above, and the European Union. 

On the other hand, Iran also continues to violate the prohibition of enriching uranium, thereby expanding and developing its nuclear capabilities, reaching 60% uranium enrichment, thus approaching the purity level required to produce nuclear weapons.

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