Iran : Saving time
Last April, Washington proposed an exchange program of uranium against Franco-Russian fuel rods for the first time to the Mullahs. It also mentioned the possibility of an embargo on refined oil, a new idea that would put great pressure on Iranians and therefore provoke a possible popular uprising.
Yesterday, the IAEA published its latest report on the Iranian nuclear program. In response to the Atomic Agency’s demand for clarification and transparency, Tehran responded with their usual provocative diatribe by rejecting cooperation. The Mullahs hope to provoke a greater crisis and therefore push the United States back in the fear of a new war in the region.
This daring conduct has a backlash that is kept silent : it is provoking great uneasiness amongst Iran’s Bazari, who fear that the West will reinforce economic sanctions by installing a total embargo on refined oil exports to Iran. Two years ago, the announcement of a gas shortage had provoked incidents that resulted in the death of 5 protestors. Having quickly corrected the situation the regime avoided such new incidents. However, the big talk in Tehran this week has been the possibility of new shortages after the regime announced the implementation of an absurd penalty of -3 litres of gas on the gas allowance cards for abusive users. This penalty will de facto reduce the ration between 3 to 20% per cardholder, thus economizing on gas consumption.
Dreading new incidents, the regime has thought it necessary to reassure its internal allies, the Bazari and Bassiji. The Oil Ministry just announced a raise of 30% in Iranian fuel productions, reassuring the population and “showing the West that the threat of restrictions on fuel exports to Iran will not be a pressure on the Islamic Republic.”
If we are to give credibility to Iranian announcements, Iran can now produce 58.5 million litres of refined oil per day, which represents 80% of Iran’s daily need of 66.5 million litres. The embargo problem is therefore solved if an economy of 20% is made in their daily consumption.
However, we are very circumspect of this affirmation, for previous announcements by Ministry do not match the new data of daily consumption. According to official information, last year the daily consumption of fuel by Iranians was 80 million litres. Which means that the consumption has rocketed in 12 months by 111% and imports that were of 36 million litres per day have gone up by 145%. Extremely difficult to believe due to the economic slump that Iran is going through.
The fact is that Tehran has not boosted their daily production, for they do not have the capacity to do so, but their daily imports in view of building up their stocks in case the embargo was to be implemented.
However, the daily consumption of Iranians is in a precarious situation. The Mullahs have to reduce Iran’s consumption quickly, which explains the new penalty of -3 litres imposed on abusive users of ration cards. It is saving time in Iran.