TEHRAN, May 11 (UPI) -- Iranian tankers are expected to start delivering crude oil to port cities feeding the European market in less than a month, a commercial director said.
Sanctions pressures on Iran started easing in January after the United Nations confirmed compliance with a multilateral nuclear agreement brokered last year. Under President Hassan Rouhani, the country has worked to reintroduce itself to a global economy restricted previously by sanctions.
Rouhani returned from his European tour earlier this year with renewed commitments from energy companies eager to engage in a post-sanctions Iran. Nasrollah Sardashti, the head of the National Iranian Tanker Co., said Wednesday that Iranian crude oil may be headed to Europe soon.
Austrian energy company OMV last week signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran, saying the agreement was the first step toward resuming formal operations in the oil-rich member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. This week, Tehran said a deal was made with an Italian refining company for the delivery of around 65,000 barrels of oil per day.
European sanctions are easing faster than those enacted by the United States. The NITC director said that, before sanctions were enacted in 2012, Iran was exporting as much as 700,000 barrels of oil per day to European and was ready to do so again
U.S. sanctions make maneuvering through the Iranian banking sector difficult, creating obstacles for full-fledged work in the Iranian economy. The U.S. Treasury Department lists oil vessels controlled by the NITC on its lists of entities blocked by sanctions.