AJC Applauds House Passage of Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act

Published December 16th, 2009 - 09:05 GMT

The American Jewish Committee applauded
the U.S. House of Representatives for passing a tough new bill targeting Iran's
petroleum sector. The bipartisan Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (H.R. 2194)
won overwhelming support, with 412 votes in favor and 12 against.

"Iran is pursuing its nuclear ambitions while treating the international community's
attempts to negotiate with utter contempt," said AJC Executive Director David
Harris. "Targeting strategic sectors of its economy, and particularly its vulnerable
energy sector, sends the signal that the United States is serious about curbing the
grave threat which Iran's nuclear program represents."

"It is important that the United States should not stand alone," Harris said. "Other
countries, as well as the United Nations Security Council, should now follow the
U.S. lead."

Under the terms of the bill, the president is authorized to sanction any person or
entity that sells gasoline and other refined petroleum products to Iran.  Companies
that enable such trade, for example by providing shipping services, would also be

Despite possessing huge oil reserves, Iran is a net importer of petroleum, due to
its lack of refining capacity and the severe economic mismanagement of its ruling
regime. The growing economic and energy crisis in the country has not prevented
Iran's rulers from accelerating their nuclear program.

AJC has long advocated pressure on Iran's petroleum sector as an appropriate
response to its refusal to abide by successive UN Security Council Resolutions and
end uranium enrichment.

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