Iran oil minister’s Twitter page suspended amid US sanctions

Twitter has suspended Iranian Petroleum Minister Bijan Zanganeh’s page, acting on the United States’ sanctions targeting Iran’s oil industry, which the Islamic Republic says have proven futile in preventing its crude sales.

16 November 2020
ID : 22643
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Twitter has suspended Iranian Petroleum Minister Bijan Zanganeh’s page, acting on the United States’ sanctions targeting Iran’s oil industry, which the Islamic Republic says have proven futile in preventing its crude sales.

The action was taken by the American social networking company against Zanganeh’s page on Monday as per the sanctions that the US had imposed on a number of officials and entities affiliated with Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum on October 26.

Washington began targeting the Iranian oil business in 2018 after leaving a historic nuclear agreement between Tehran and others and returning the sanctions that the deal had lifted.

Back then, the White House alleged that it sought to reduce the Iranian oil exports to “zero,” and started to gradually rescind waivers that would enable Iran to sell oil overseas despite the coercive economic measures.

According to several reports, including one by Reuters in late September, Iran has continued to export its oil despite US sanctions.

Zanganeh has asserted that the US bans had no practical effect and stemmed from Washington’s grudge toward Tehran.

Reacting to the raft of sanctions targeting him and his colleagues at the Petroleum Ministry, the minister called the measures a “passive reaction” by Washington to its own defeat in bringing down Iran’s oil exports to zero.

Skillful Technocrat

Zanganeh is a veteran of Iran’s oil sector and widely seen as a skillful technocrat who shepherded the Islamic Republic’s revival within OPEC after the 2015 nuclear deal. He is also one of President Hassan Rouhani’s most moderate aides.

The architect of the Iranian oil industry’s post-sanctions recovery, Zanganeh helped secure several multibillion dollar joint-ventures with foreign investors, including France’s Total SA and China National Petroleum Corp., before the Trump era abruptly ended Iran’s tentative economic recovery.

Since Trump reimposed sanctions on Iran and sought to cut the country’s oil sales to zero, Zanganeh has maintained a strict policy of not publicly discussing Iranian output and production levels and has frequently condemned the U.S. for trying to directly influence and intervene in OPEC policy and decision-making.

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