Azerbaijan: Serial Sanctions-Buster

Even as U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing Azerbaijan’s genocide of Artsakh’s 120,000 indigenous Christian Armenians, the Aliyev regime is actively undermining American foreign policy by repeatedly evading U.S. sanctions:

— Russia’s “Lukoil” purchased a $1.5 billion stake in Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas field and pipeline projects, increasing its total stake to 19.99% – the largest after BP, the primary operator. This deal was finalized on February 18th 2022, about a week before Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine. Lukoil is currently under U.S. sanctions.

— Russia‘s “Gazprom” signed a deal in November 2022 with Azerbaijan’s “SOCAR” to supply Azerbaijan with 1 billion cubic meters of natural gas by March 2023 – to meet Azerbaijan’s domestic demand. This calls into question Azerbaijan’s capacity and willingness to cut Russia out of Europe’s energy supply chain.

— Azerbaijan agreed to allow Russia’s Gazprom to supply Iran’s NIOC with 15 billion cubic meters of gas ($40 billion worth) through Azerbaijani pipelines, as reported by Azerbaijani media.

— Iran‘s National Oil Company (NIOC) – also under U.S. sanctions – owns a 10% stake in Azerbaijan’s primary gas field exporting energy to Europe.

— Azerbaijan has laundered millions of dollars into Russian and Iranian companies (including military contractors, oil companies and financial institutions) under U.S. sanctions, as reported by the OCCRP.

— As detailed by OFAC, Azerbaijan has been exempt from sanctions under the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act (Sec. 1244 IFCA) that would have otherwise applied to transactions related to Azerbaijan’s energy industry – including the partial ownership of Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz Gas Field by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).

— As of October 2023, SOCAR, will receive a $1.5 billion loan from Russia‘s Lukoil as part of a deal to supply crude oil to SOCAR’s oil refinery in Turkey.

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