Tuesday, October 27, 2009

US Senate Committee to Vote on I.R. Iran Fuel Sanctions

Tweet It!


The U.S. Senate Banking Committee will vote Thursday on legislation that would impose sanctions on Iran's gasoline suppliers in order to pressure Tehran to give up its nuclear program, the panel's chairman said. The sanctions would affect companies exporting gasoline to Iran or helping to expand the country's oil refinery capacity. The sanctions would also extend to companies that build oil and gas pipelines in Iran and provide tankers to move Iran's petroleum. Congress and the Obama administration fear Iran's uranium enrichment program will be used to develop weapons, while Tehran says it is for peaceful purposes to generate electricity. Congress hopes cutting off Iran's gasoline supplies will put pressure on Tehran to give up its nuclear program. While Iran holds some of the world's biggest oil reserves, it must import 40 percent of its gasoline to meet domestic demand. The bill would also prohibit the U.S. government from purchasing goods from foreign companies that do business in Iran's energy sector. That would include denying contracts to energy companies to deliver crude oil to the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. However, such a move would have little real impact as the emergency oil stockpile is just 2 million barrels away from its 727-million-barrel capacity, which will be reached by January.

Other provisions in the bill would:

* Impose a broad ban on direct imports from Iran to the U.S. and exports from the U.S. to Iran, exempting food and medicines;

* Require the Obama administration to freeze the assets of Iranians, including Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, who are active in weapons proliferation or terrorism;

* Enable Americans to divest from energy firms doing business with the Iranian regime;

* Strengthen export controls to stop the illegal black market export of sensitive technology to Iran through other countries and impose tough new licensing requirements on those who refuse to cooperate.