An Iranian tanker carrying 1 million barrels of crude reached Europe for the first time since sanctions were eased against the Islamic Republic over the summer, Bloomberg News reported Monday. The news comes as Iranian officials and businessmen have eyed a global market to begin opening their crippled oil and gas sector.
The destination of the Monte Toledo, Iran’s oil tanker, was undisclosed. Iran has not shipped oil to Europe since mid-2012, when sanctions were first imposed against the country for its nuclear program.
Following a landmark agreement signed in July between Iran, the U.S. and five other world powers, Iran has sought to build new business ties. Full trade of crude oil is still limited due to U.S. restrictions that remain. The agreement requires that Iran end its alleged nuclear arms program in exchange for an easing of sanctions. Iran has so far adhered to the requirements of the deal.
Ali Tayebnia, the country’s finance minister, has said Iran could export some 2 million barrels of oil per day, United Press International reported. However, re-emergence on the international sphere has been hindered by low oil prices due to a market glut. A reputation for corruption and lawlessness was also expected to turn away foreign investors and businesses.
Earlier this year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani became the first Iranian head of state in more than a decade to visit Europe. Accompanied by businessmen, he signed multibillion-dollar business deals. Rouhani, seen within his country as a moderate, has sought to patch up ties with the West, which went sour during his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency.
Recent parliamentary elections in Iran saw a landslide win for allies of Rouhani, which many analysts viewed as a testament to support for the Iran nuclear deal and Rouhani’s economic ambitions.