Most recent videos

Loading...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

House passes Iran gasoline sanctions bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives approved legislation on Tuesday to impose sanctions on foreign companies that help supply gasoline to Iran, a move lawmakers hope will deter Tehran from pursuing its nuclear program.

The bill authorizes President Barack Obama to levy sanctions on energy companies that directly provide gasoline to Iran along with the firms that provide insurance and tankers to facilitate the fuel shipments. The Senate is likely to approve a similar law, but it is uncertain how soon it will vote.

The legislation, which would expand an existing U.S. law that seeks to punish foreign companies that invest more than $20 million a year in Iran's energy sector.

"This bill has one overriding goal: To prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability," said Representative Howard Berman, co-sponsor of the legislation.

"We must use all the tools at our disposal, from diplomacy to sanctions, to stop Iran's march toward nuclear capability," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "By targeting Iran's ongoing dependence from largely imported refined petroleum we reduce the chance that Iran will acquire the capacity to produce nuclear weapons."

The legislation passed the House in a 412-to-12 vote.

The sanctions include preventing violating companies from getting financial assistance from U.S. institutions like the Export-Import Bank.

While Iran has some of the world's biggest oil reserves, it must import 40 percent of its gasoline to meet domestic demand because of a lack of refining capacity.

As the United States has stepped up pressure on companies doing business with Iran, a number of past suppliers like BP and Indian refiner Reliance have backed away from providing fuel, but imports have largely been maintained as companies like European trading firms Trafigura and Vitol, Kuwait-based International Petroleum Group and Malaysia's Petronas step into the breach, traders said.

No comments:

Post a Comment