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US Senate approves sanctions targeting Iranian oil

The US Senate on Thursday unanimously approved economic sanctions targeting Iran’s crude oil industry — amid fears the move could backfire, Bloomberg reported.

The measures, which must still be approved by the House of Representatives and President Barack Obama, would ban foreign financial institutions from doing business with the Central Bank of Iran.

Any business that flouted the ban would be barred from having correspondent accounts in the US, Bloomberg reported.

US banks are already banned from dealing directly with the Central Bank of Iran.

The move follows earlier sanctions by the European Union that were imposed on Thursday.

The sanctions come in the form of an amendment to the 2012 defense authorization bill, which sets out Pentagon policy and spending targets. They were passed in the Senate by a vote of 100 to nil.

But the Obama administration is hesitant to go too far with sanctions, fearing that depriving global markets of Iranian exports could lead to a spike in oil prices, the BBC reported.

Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

“There’s absolutely a risk that, in fact, the price of oil would go up, which would mean that Iran would, in fact, have more money to fuel its nuclear ambitions, not less.”

However, the sanctions are reportedly designed to take effect in six months time, so as not to shock the oil markets.

US officials deny the sanctions are linked to Tuesday’s storming of the British embassy in Iran.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 12/03/2011 - 09:52 am.

    Please remember the neocon plan for American hegemony, lots of oil and — of course — “world peace,” that would follow once we attacked and democratized Iraq (estimated to take three weeks) and then to move on to Iran and Syria, the other two members of the Axis of Evil.

    Remember the lies about WMD that gave us the Iraq war-without-end in deaths and dollars. The State Department’s mission is now to maintain security in Iraq with an army of mercenaries at a cost of $6 billion per year.

    Now, before accepting the right-wing/media-broadcast-to-the-world message that Iran wants to develop a nuclear weapon so it can attack Israel, please read Seymour Hersh’s recent article in The New Yorker and a November 26 article by Russ Wellen at Foreign Policy in Focus (

    The sanctions will hurt Iran’s people, who may get upset and do things like attacking England’s embassy, as we saw the other day. But none of that means Iran is actually developing nuclear weapons.

    And read the report from the IAEA. It does NOT say there is evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. It repeats the truth that Iran ended its program in 2003, but now says that it MIGHT decide to enrich material to weapons grade and MIGHT make a bomb with it.

    With the president, the Pentagon, the media and the Congress all repeating the lie and demonizing Iran, how long do we think it will be before we start dropping bombs and seeking regime change? Can we get away with lying to the U.N. as we did in 2003 in order to justify yet another war? Let us hope not.

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