US House approves Iran energy sector sanctions bill
Washington: The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved sanctions legislation aimed at forcing Iran to freeze its nuclear program by depriving the Islamic
republic of gasoline.
The measure would empower US President Barack Obama to effectively block firms that supply Iran with refined petroleum products, or the ability to import or produce them
at home, from doing business in the United States.
"The prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran is the most serious
and urgent strategic challenge faced by the United States, and
we must use all of the diplomatic means at our disposal
including tougher sanctions to prevent that from becoming a
reality," said Democratic Representative Howard Berman.
The House passed the bill, which has yet to clear the
Senate, by a 412-12 margin with four voting "present."
A top US senator said recently that body will not act on
Iran sanctions in 2009.
Because of a lack of domestic refining capacity, oil-rich
Iran is dependent on gasoline imports to meet about 40 per
cent of domestic consumption.
Iran gets most of those 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.