As in Venezuela, the U.S. hopes to cripple Iran economically.
U.S. sanctions have hit Iranian oil production, however, the country has been able to boost natural gas production despite attempts to suffocate the country economically.
Hassan Montazer Torbati, head of the country's national gas company NIGC, announced that sales of natural gas to the country’s neighbors are increasing and are set to do so further, defying U.S. attempts to cripple the country's economy.
Torbati told PressTV, “Last year we exported gas to Turkey, Baghdad and Basra with an average of over 40 million cubic meters a day, and this year, gas exports to Iraq [alone] will reach more than 35 million cubic meters per day.” There are hopes that this could turn around the country’s fortunes, as Iran is home to the world’s second largest supply of natural gas.
Investment in the infrastructure of production has helped to defy U.S. sanctions. Eighteen new petrochemical plants are opening over the next two years, and Chinese investment in the South Pars region has helped boost production. The French company, Total, also invested initially, but quickly pulled out in the face of U.S. sanctions. Fortunately for Iran, China picked up the cost of the lost French investment.
The government is keenly aware of the importance of the South Pars, which is home to the largest gas field in the world and half of Iran’s reserves.
Petroleum Minister Bijan Zangeneh expects this investment will bring a rise in production saying, “We will continue to focus on investing in South Pars and plan to increase gas production by 60 million cubic meters before the coming winter."
Trump’s administration has stepped up aggression against Iran, pulling out of the nuclear deal that alleviated sanctions in return for restraint on nuclear programs. As in Venezuela, the U.S. hopes to cripple Iran economically. This in large part due to its role in places such as Syria and Palestine and opposing U.S. foreign policy. Just as in Venezuela, sanctions have also damaged oil production, on which much of the economy is reliant, leading to price rises on basic goods and medicines. The country will be hoping that the rising production of natural gas can help offset the effects of Trump’s sanctions.