Iran battles coronavirus amid dramatic slump in oil income

Al-Monitor – Iran’s vice president for economic affairs lamented the free fall of the country’s oil revenue. Mohammad Nahavandian told Iranian state TV that oil inventory has dropped to one-eighth of where it stood in 2011.

The comments came after the global oil market was rattled by the coronavirus pandemic, which has slashed international demand for crude. The damage to Iran, the world’s fifth largest oil producer, has been particularly disruptive. The price of Iranian heavy crude fell below $14 per barrel March 31 — not good news for a government that has based its fiscal budget on the rate of $50 per barrel.

The US government has pursued a “maximum pressure” policy against Iran since 2018. The campaign has sought to zero out Iran’s oil revenue, and force other nations to turn away from Iranian crude. The policy has squeezed Iran’s crumbling economy, leaving Tehran with limited export options, which have plummeted to all-time lows.

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