Serious damage or temporary irritation? Sanctions and their impact on Iran’s energy sector
Introduction Since 2006, a growing number of inter na tional and unilateral sanc tions have been imposed on the Iranian nuclear programme and its as sumed nuclear weapons com pon ent. The use of sanc tions, as always, raises questions concern ing their suit able aims and scope, their real impact on the sanc tioned state and societyandfinallytheirefficiencyinachievingthedesiredoutcome.Inthecase ofIran,inordertodepriveitofitscapabilitytofinanceamilitarynuclearpro gramme, the Iranian energy sector – the main source of the coun try’s rev enues – has been a target of those meas ures. This chapter provides a closer look at the oil, refinery and gas sector, identifying the impact of sanctions on them and finding outwhether sanctions have caused serious damage so far ormerely a temporary irritation re gard ing eco nomic de velopment and the Iranian energy supply.1 The conclusion is reached that until 2006, the effect of sanc tions had been limited. The weaknesses of the Iranian energy sector have been caused mainly by the pol icy of the Iranian regime, in par ticu lar by its pol icy of national control over energy resources. The latest sanc tions may have stronger impacts on Iran. They may aggravate the existing prob lems and will put Iranian authori ties under pressure to recon sider their national investment pri or ities. The outcome of these sanc tions will look different in the oil, gasoline and gas sectors.