U.S. Grants Tougher Iran Sanctions

Last Thursday in Washington, the Senate Banking Committee of the United States approved legislation that allows tougher sanctions on Iran coming from the Obama administration. This is part of the efforts to constrict the nuclear programs of Tehran.

The U.S. Banking Committee passed a legislation targeting firms that has helped Iran obtain their gasoline and other refined petroleum products.

The Banking Committee panel voted 23-0 in passing the legislation while House Foreign Affairs Committee has passed a similar measure the day before. In a statement, the chair of Senate committee, Christopher Dodd, said that “we must send very clear signals to the leaders of Iran – if they continue to defy the international community’s will, then our nation is truly prepared to confront them.”

The measure would actually ban most of the trade between Iran and the United States, except for medicine and food. It will expand the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 to cover several businesses and financial institutions. Also, it requires the president to alert Congress in cases when there are non-US companies becoming eligible for sanctions. In the case of the 1996 act, it sanctions investments in Iran’s energy sector worth over 20 million dollars.

Although Iran is considered as the largest oil producer in the world, it’s forced to import 40% of its gasoline needs due to lack of capacity forces for refining. Supporters of this legislation believe that Tehran will be convinced to abandon its supposed pursuit of nuclear arms when the gasoline imports of Iran have been targeted.

In addition, this measure applies to companies transporting the refined petroleum products as well as those insuring the shipments. U.S. investors will also divest from the energy firms doing business in Iran.


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