Central banker says Iran spent more dollars on imports last year

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Iran has been able to appropriate 31% more foreign currency for imports over the past 10 months despite sanctions, the central bank chief said on Sunday.

Ali Salehabadi, chairman of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), told local television that as of March 2021, the government was able to provide $48.6 billion for imports under the US sanctions on the country’s oil exports and international banks. That amount from March 2020 to March 2021 was $37 billion, Salehabadi said.

Iran has boosted illicit oil exports since late 2020, although the exact quantity of shipments and destinations remains a state secret due to the risk of US retaliation against third parties. Some estimates indicate that exports exceeded 700,000 barrels per day compared to 200,000 in 2019-2020 when the United States declared total sanctions.

President Joe Biden’s administration, which decided to reverse Donald Trump’s decision to quit the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, began negotiations last April to reinstate the deal. Reports indicate that the administration did not firmly enforce sanctionsallowing Iran to increase its crude sales.

The central bank chief said he was pleased with the “reasonable” level of oil and other exports in recent months. Iranian currency fell sharply in December recovered more than 10% of its losses since mid-January.

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