Iran gets sanctions anew from U.S. policy makers

U.S. policymakers seem bent on intensifying sanctions against the Iranian energy sector as it presented new measures that aim to intensify earlier measures banning the importation of the country’s oil and natural gas products.

Reps. Robert Dold and Ted Deutch collaborated in coming up with new sanctions outlined in the “Iran Energy Sector and Proliferation Sanctions Act” which was recently presented before the U.S. Congress. The act more specifically targets at depleting Iran’s revenues from oil and oil investment, which the country might channel towards nuclear and missile production.

Iran ranks number two among OPEC countries in terms of crude oil production.  Also, it owns vast reserves of natural gas (second in world) waiting to be tapped. The act seeks to ban not only the purchase of oil and natural gas from Iran but also forbid investing in the country’s oil explorations as well as development and installation of oil pipelines.

According to Mark Dubowitz, Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) executive director, this new act will, in essence, mark Iran’s energy sector as a “no-go zone”. Countries are cordoned off from doing business with Iran’s energy sector and this encompasses importation and sale of products, technology, and services that are all linked with energy.

The foundation’s executive director further states that “Blacklisting Iran’s entire energy sector would reduce the number of companies willing to trade in Iranian oil and natural gas, thus forcing Iran to reduce its crude oil prices for whatever it can still sell”.

It may be recalled that late last year, the United States Treasury identified Iran’s financial sector as a seat of money laundering activities.  The National Treasury’s declaration moved policy makers to replicate this by raising public awareness of Iranian energy sector’s notoriety as a “financier” of its own nuclear and missile program.

The pursuit of an embargo against Iran is not really new. This has been going on for decades.  About 15 years ago, a law was passed capping investments of foreign firms on Iran’s energy sector. This was followed by similar restrictions (in 2010) barring foreign nations from unloading refined gas to Iran.

During an interview with Rep. Dold, he mentioned that Congress came out with a bilateral agreement “to ratchet-up pressure on this Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons ambition” through “further depriving Iran’s government of energy revenues it uses to fund its nuclear program.”

With the introduction and enactment of laws barring investments and trade with Iran’s financial and energy sectors, both the United States and European Union seem intent on impairing Iran’s economy.  Clearly, the objective is to compel Iran’s heads to discontinue plans of intensifying a nuclear program that could pose risks to nearby regions.

Iran, however, denies such risks stating that its nuclear programs are strictly for research and energy development for civilians.