Friday, January 29, 2010

U.S. Senate Votes to Squeeze Iran by Targeting Its Gasoline Imports

A day after President Obama warned that Iran faced “growing consequences” over its nuclear activities, the U.S. Senate late Thursday offered him a tool to make good on that pledge – but it’s a tool for which the administration has shown little enthusiasm.

By voice vote, the Senate passed a bill paving the way for sanctions targeting Iranian petroleum imports. The House of Representatives passed a similar bill six weeks ago.

Targeting gasoline imports would hit the regime in a weak spot. Despite massive oil reserves, Iran imports about 40 percent of its domestic gasoline needs because of poor refinery infrastructure.

Israel, Iran’s number one enemy, has not ruled out using military force if it deems it necessary to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other top U.S. officials have also said that the U.S. is not taking any option off the table.