Iranian oil and gas revenues frozen abroad
January 6, 2021 - Tough U.S. sanctions mean billions of dollars of revenues owed to Iran, mostly from its oil and gas exports, are frozen in foreign banks.
Iran is unable to withdraw billions of dollars held in foreign banks, mostly accrued from oil and gas exports, due to U.S. sanctions.
Iran has repeatedly asked countries for access to blocked revenues but its efforts have mostly failed.
Some frozen assets include cash Iran paid to Western countries for military purchases that were never delivered after the 1979 Iranian Revolution deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and the Persian monarchy.
On January 4, Iran seized a South Korean chemical tanker in the Persian Gulf, claiming it was polluting its waters – although this is more likely an attempt to coerce South Korea into releasing $7 billion of Iranian funds frozen there.
Since 1979, growing sanctions against Iran have had a debilitating affect on its economy, almost completely isolating it from the international financial system.
Iran’s assets frozen in international accounts are thought to be worth about $100 billion, although this is open to conjecture, and include cash, real estate and other properties.