Seventy Days After Deadline, Sanctions Against Iran Appear No Closer

( – Amid mounting skepticism about the likelihood of robust U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran, attention is turning to calls for unilateral measures targeting gasoline shipments.

Three major energy firms this week reportedly joined a list of companies ending their gasoline trade with Iran, a trend proponents of gasoline sanctions attribute to the mere threat that the measure could become U.S. policy.

On Wednesday, a senior British Conservative announced that a future Conservative government would push for U.N. sanctions against Iran, including “a ban on oil and gas investment.” The opposition party is favored to win a general election in the spring.

The U.S. House and Senate both have passed legislation aimed at sales of refined petroleum products to Iran, a country that relies on imports for up to 40 percent of its gasoline needs. (The Senate version of the bill also focuses on companies that help Iran to improve its domestic refinery infrastructure. A conference committee soon will begin work to resolve the two versions.)

The Obama administration, whose last deadline for Iran to respond to international demands on its nuclear programs or face “tough” sanctions passed 70 days ago, has been trying to stall the legislation.

It has been seeking greater “flexibility” for the president in the bills while continuing to negotiate with Security Council partners for a package of sanctions that excludes gasoli… >>>

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