Iran

WH Pressed Over Evidence Iran Economy Stabilizing Amid Oil Export Spike

The Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday morning conveyed statements from White House officials brushing off concerns regarding a January spike in Iran’s oil exports, which was widely read against the backdrop of a stabilization in Iran’s economy, prompting Foreign Policy to say that it had “raised concerns” over the veracity of White House statements describing sanctions relief to Iran under the interim Joint Plan of Action (JPA) as relatively limited. The Obama administration has long faced criticism that it had both vastly undercounted the value of direct relief due to a range of fairly basic and easily identifiable errors, and that it had underestimated the likelihood that an international feeding frenzy would take hold that would further weaken the sanctions regime. Critics accused the White House not just of bungling the substance of the talks but of misleading the public over its assessments.

Nor is this the first time the administration has juggled the timeline. Josh Block, CEO of the Israel Project, tells Right Turn, “When the administration first revealed the secret channel with Iran, which they lied to the press about and hid from our closest allies, they said it was in service of a six-month negotiation with Iran. Then when they announced a ‘first step’ six-month deal with Iran, it turned out, in fact, there was no deal with Iran, and those six months stretched in to nine, and now to six months past that.”

The Free Beacon conveyed statements from White House officials insisting that while it appears as if Iran is gaining relief far ahead of the pace estimated by the White House, things would balance out over the coming months.

The administration had initially promised that “Iran’s oil exports will remain steady at their current level of around 1 million barrels per day.” Hayden said the recent spike in exports would even out during the next few months. “The ‘current average amounts of crude oil’ is understood to be ‘average volume’ over a six-month period,” Hayden explained. “Month-to-month variability is normal in oil markets, but we expect Iran’s total exports will average out over the six-month period.” “There are variations in national purchasing patterns because of seasonality and circumstances such as ships being delayed for docking, disruption to insurance, etc.,” she said. “So, monthly figures may shift for each.”

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