The country was going broke.
By 2020, President Trump’s sanctions had nearly bankrupted Iran. It’s one of the main reasons the leadership in the Islamic Republic was so desperate to see a change in leadership in Washington, D.C.
In 2018, Iran had $122.5 billion on hand. By 2020? Iran had just $4 billion. Which means, between 2018 and 2020, Iran burned through $118.5 billion and had hardly any money left.
According to the IMF’s 2021 Middle East and Central Asia report, the bleeding of cash was all thanks to the former administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Tehran. This is, in fact, proof that the Trump administration was succeeding in its efforts to hurt the Iranian leadership and force a political change.
But, with Biden Administration now in charge and the expectation of a reentry into the nuclear deal, Iran’s coffers are forecast to grow by several billion in the coming years.
That said, U.S. sanctions on Iran’s illicit oil trade are likely to continue, according to the IMF report. This has forced Iran to sell its oil under the radar at a steep discount.
Meanwhile, although Iran is still producing several million barrels of oil a day but, much of that is being sent to war-torn Syria, where Iranian forces continue to back Bashar al-Assad. And, that’s IF the oil can even get to Syria. Israeli forces have begun to target Iranian ships ferrying oil, including at least a dozen ships since late 2019.
The announcement came in response to an alleged Israeli attack on its Natanz facility.