It looks like the Obama administration pretty much got its wish in allaying, at least for now, the large and bipartisan group of senators rallying for legislation that would impose further pending sanctions on Iran in the event that they fail to cooperate with the terms of the interim agreement of late last year. It’s kinda’ tough to tell if that’s happening, seeing as how the official text of that agreement still hasn’t been made public, but a big part of these lawmakers’ concern stemmed from the possibility of the Obama administration opening the floodgates of investment to Iran before they really have to make any major concessions.
A concern that was well founded, evidently. As Adam Kredo at the WFB reports, Iran’s oil exports soared in January to 1.32 million barrels from December’s high of 1.06 million, and Iran is gladly raking it in:
Iranian oil exports have steadily risen since negotiations with the West restored confidence in Tehran’s economy. The increase runs counter to a promise by the Obama administration that “Iran’s oil exports will remain steady at their current level of around 1 million barrels per day.”
The significant rise in oil exports has led some experts to accuse the Obama administration of misleading the public about the amount of sanctions relief provided under the interim nuclear deal.
While the White House said Iran would receive no more than $7 billion in relief, these experts say that the rise in oil exports and other economic spikes will give Iran “well more than $20 billion.”
“These numbers … cast doubt on the accuracy of the administration’s estimates for sanctions relief,” former Ambassador Mark Wallace, CEO of the advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran, said in a statement. “The $6 or $7 billion estimate does not take into account the tens of billions of dollars Iran will reap from increased oil sales.”
India, China, Japan, and others are eagerly gathering round, and while it seems like the White House is trying to nominally stem some of the flow by threatening to bring the pain on sanctions violators, this is definitely looking like a lot more economic relief and rather fewer concessions than Obama confidently and quellingly assured us he’d bargained for.