Iran sought to paint an exaggeratedly positive picture of its long-delayed crude swap deal with Iraq this week. On 3 June the oil ministry’s Shana news agency reported the start-up of the 30-60,000 b/d swap. In reality, trucked volumes are unlikely to hit this quantity per month in the foreseeable future, let alone per day.

With oil tanker trucks typically carrying around 200 barrels, 60,000 b/d would require 300 trucks daily traversing the route. Even 30,000 b/d would entail some 150...