Measure to extend Iran sanctions introduced

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. Congress introduced a bipartisan measure to place U.S. sanctions on companies helping to supply Iran with gasoline.

The Iran Diplomatic Enhancement Act, introduced Tuesday in the House of Representatives by Reps. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), would extend sanctions to suppliers, brokers, insurers and tankers carrying gasoline to Iran. The bill also would apply to companies that build refineries in Iran.

The congressmen said that such sanctions address a critical vulnerability because Iran lacks refining capacity and must import 40 percent of its gasoline.

In a news release, Kirk and Sherman said nearly all of Iran’s imported gasoline is provided by five European companies — the Swiss firm Vitol, the Swiss/Dutch firm Trafigura, the French firm Total, the Swiss firm Glencore and British Petroleum — as well as the Indian firm Reliance. The majority of tankers carrying gasoline to Iran, they said, are insured by Lloyds of London. 

“We should use every conceivable lever within reach to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power and to halt its support of international terrorism,”Sherman said. “Iran’s need to import a significant portion of its gasoline is among the best levers we have at our disposal.”

Sherman and Kirk said a bipartisan group of more than 20 lawmakers already had signed on to co-sponsor the bill.

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