As international sanctions mount, Iran is finding it increasingly hard to find buyers for its oil, forcing the hardline nation to offer discounts in order to shift as much as it can to a declining number of customers.
Though Iranian officials are increasingly voicing their concerns in public, many seem optimistic about finding ways around the trade blockade.
The latest set of sanctions approved by the United Nations Security Council on June 9 includes restrictions on banking and other financial transactions that could further Iran's nuclear ambitions.
The UN measures came eight days after United States President Barack Obama
signed off on legislation imposing new unilateral sanctions, which will penalize companies and banks dealing with Iran and block sales of petrol and other petroleum products to the country. Iran lacks an adequate refining capacity despite being a major oil producer.
The sanctions effectively increase the risk of buying oil from Iran.
"It's unfair competition," Hossein Noghrekar Shirazi, the deputy oil minister responsible for trade and international links, said when he was interviewed by the Khabar newspaper following the approval of the latest UN sanctions.
The result of the growing number of restrictions on trade is that long-term customers like India, China and Japan are now looking elsewhere for oil suppliers, such as Saudi Arabia.
For a country in which over 85% of trade revenues are generate... >>>
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