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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Senate passes Iran sanctions

On Thursday, the Senate passed its version of the Iran sanctions by voice vote.
The US Senate voted Thursday to slap tough new sanctions on Iran, targeting its thirst for gasoline imports in a bid to force Tehran to bow to global pressure to freeze its suspect nuclear program.

“The Iranian regime has engaged in serious human rights abuses against its own citizens, funded terrorist activity throughout the Middle East, and pursued illicit nuclear activities posing a serious threat to the security of the United States and our allies,” said Democratic Senator Chris Dodd.

“With passage of this bill, we make it clear that there will be appropriate consequences if these actions continue,” said Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and a key sponsor of the legislation.
And Dodd is an Obama ally. The Senate bill will still have to be reconciled with the House bill, but here are some of its features.
It also requires that the president report to congress when non-US companies become eligible for sanctions, under a 1996 law that punishes investments of more than 20 million dollars in Iran’s energy sector.

Iran gets most of its gasoline imports from the Swiss firm Vitol, the Swiss/Dutch firm Trafigura, France’s Total, the Swiss firm Glencore and British Petroleum, as well as the Indian firm Reliance.

The measure also expands the 1996 law to cover oil and gas pipelines and tankers, and requires the administration to freeze the assets of any Iranians, including members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, found to be active in weapons proliferation or terrorism.

It would also enable US investors, including states’ pension funds, to divest from energy firms that do business with Iran.

It would prohibit the US government from purchasing goods from firms that do business in Iran’s energy sector, or provide sensitive communications technology to Iran — a measure that could affect telecommunications giants Siemens and Nokia.
And you were wondering why Siemens announced no new deals with Iran this past week.

Each house of Congress has now passed sanctions legislation with a veto-proof majority. On the other hand, there is very little here that requires Obama to act. He has to report when companies are eligible for sanctions and the US government won't be able to purchase goods from firms that do business with Iran's energy sector or provide communications technology. As I have noted before, the only way to enforce sanctions that cut off Iran's supply of refined fuel products is for the US to station ships at the mouth of the Persian Gulf to stop those imports. That's not going to happen.

What could go wrong?

1 Comments:

At 8:30 AM, Blogger sarah leah said...

Interesting how at same time ambassador sent to Syria, which is connected the Lebanon and Hamas happiness and all roads lead to Teheran.

I have no conspiracy "theory" - just a bunch of dots that seem to have Iran in common.

Thoughts on matter?

 

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