Iran likes to feign indifference in the face of Western economic sanctions, but the strains are starting to show, the New York Times observes, with the country’s deputy oil minister openly acknowledging yesterday that oil production was declining “due to lack of investment in oil field development.” The comment followed on the heels of the foreign minister’s pronouncement that “we cannot pretend the sanctions are having no effect.”
Last week, the head of Iran’s central bank said the country must behave as if “under siege.” There are other signs of strain as well. Talks with a Polish natural gas company on a major deal collapsed yesterday, after four years in the works. Iran then announced a $1 billion deal with Russian oil company Tatneft, only to have Tatneft quickly issue an embarrassing denial. Both incidents appear to signify that foreign companies are feeling pressure not to deal with Iran.