Congressman eyes sanctions of fuel shippers to Iran
A U.S. Congressman is proposing legislation that would force companies that export gasoline to either choose between doing so to the United States or Iran, provided Iran fails to heed calls to end its nuclear program.
The legislation is being pushed by Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., and would also apply to companies that assist in the transport of gasoline to Iran, according to a Reuters report on Wednesday.
“The bill would impose sanctions on foreign companies that export refined petroleum products, such as gasoline, to Iran or help maintain the country’s domestic refining capacity,” the report said. “This would include companies that provide ships or shipping services to transport the fuel, underwrite the shipments and finance or broker the relevant gasoline cargoes.”
Earlier this month, the U.S. House or Representatives voted to prohibit the U.S. Export-Import Bank from providing credit, insurance or loan repayment guarantees to foreign companies that supply gasoline to Iran. But Berman wants the sanctions to run deeper.
“The legislation would force companies in the energy sector to choose between doing business with Iran, or doing business with the United States,” he told the news agency. “I view this bill as a ‘sword of Damocles’ over the Iranians.”
Though Iran holds vast oil reserves, it still imports 40 percent of its need for refined gasoline due to growing demand, the report said.