Iran Has Illicitly Shipped $22B in Oil to China Since Biden Took Office An Iranian man walks past an anti-America mural on a wall of the former U.S. Embassy in the capital, Tehran, on March 12. (Atta Kenare/Getty Images)
By Eric Mack | Tuesday, 12 April 2022 09:10 PM
An Iranian "ghost armada" is sending an average of 829,260 barrels of oil per day to China, totaling 337,882,520 illegal barrels worth about $22 billion, since President Joe Biden took office, The Washington Free Beacon reported Tuesday.
The shipments, reported by United Against a Nuclear Iran, a group tracking Iran's fleet of illegal tankers, have critics denouncing the Biden administration for having ''turned a blind eye" amid sanctions against Iran.
The administration is attempting to renegotiate an Iran nuclear deal — known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA — and critics believe that might be the reason it is not aggressively enforcing sanctions, according to the report.
"During the time the four vessels mentioned were being operated by Atlantic Navigation, they carried just over 19 million barrels of Iranian oil, worth approximately $1 billion, to China," UANI chief of staff Claire Jungman told the Free Beacon.
"This money allows the Iranian regime to profit and in turn fund its terrorist activities around the world. There are clear ties between these vessels and sanctioned entities, and there is no good reason for the Biden administration to have turned a blind eye to this.
"This lack of action by the Biden administration is only enabling Iran's bad behavior."
In addition to turning off their trackers in violation of maritime law, the ships are obfuscating their ownership to get around sanctions, according to the report.
"In our ongoing efforts to assist authorities, UANI has conducted investigations into the real owners of the Ghost Armada vessels," UANI reported. "Using official public records and other open-source data, our research to date has uncovered a web of front companies and facilitators that ultimately point back to Iran."
A State Department spokesman acknowledged that China is importing illegal Iranian oil and told the Free Beacon that sanctions "remain in effect unless and until they are lifted, and we will address any effort at sanctions evasion."
"We have used our sanctions authorities to respond to Iranian sanctions evasion efforts, including those involving China, and will continue to do so as necessary," the spokesman told the Free Beacon.
"We have been approaching this diplomatically with the Chinese as part of our dialogue on Iran policy and part of our diplomatic effort to achieve a mutual return to full compliance with the JCPOA. We think that in general this is a more effective path forward to address our concerns."