Iran’s illegal oil trade has boomed under the Biden administration, with the hardline regime selling more than $44 billion worth of its heavily sanctioned oil to malign regimes like China, Syria, and Venezuela, according to figures published by a watchdog group.
From January 2021, when President Joe Biden took office, to June 2022, Iran sold around $44.7 billion in oil primarily to China. The regime’s export revenues between March 2021 and March 2022 from oil, gas, and related products “totaled $39 billion, compared [with] $22 billion for the previous year—a rise of 77 percent and an extra $17 billion,” according to United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI), a watchdog group that tracks Iran’s network of illegal oil tankers.
“This drastic increase in revenue is not surprising when you look at the increase in oil exports that have occurred under the Biden administration,” UANI chief of staff Claire Jungman told the Washington Free Beacon. “This is the result of terminally lax sanctions enforcement.”
In addition to looser sanctions on Iran, the Biden administration has turned a blind eye to enforcement as it seeks to ink a revamped version of the 2015 nuclear deal. These moves are meant to appease Iran and cajole it into signing a deal that will remove virtually all sanctions on the hardline regime, including its oil trade. China is the primary beneficiary of this policy, with Iranian oil imports quadrupling to the country in 2021 to $23.1 billion. The China-Iran oil pipeline is on pace to hit around $27 billion in 2022, according to UANI’s figures.
In April the Biden administration also approved the sale of nearly $100 million of oil from the U.S. Strategic Oil Reserve to China. This deal caused some controversy considering petroleum supply issues in the U.S. and that his son Hunter may have had a financial stake in one of the recipient companies.