Measure to bar tax funds toward Iran gas passes

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Legislation that would prevent government funds from going to companies supplying gasoline to Iran.

U.S. Reps. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) proposed the amendment to the 2010 State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill to prohibit American taxpayer dollars from going to guarantee, insure or extend credit to any company that supplies gasoline to Iran.

The Congress members noted that the U.S. Export-Import Bank, in 2007 and 2008, approved two separate loan guarantees totaling $900 million to expand a refinery owned by Reliance Industries Limited, an Indian company that provides about a third of Iran’s daily imports of gasoline.

Iran, while a leading exporter of oil, lacks enough refining capacity to meet its internal fuel demand and imports as much as 40 percent of its gasoline.

Broader legislation that would sanction companies helping Iran refine petroleum or providing refined gasoline to the country was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate this spring, and is backed by AIPAC.

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