Senate okays Iran gasoline sanctions

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In a bizarre and, some might say rather pointless gesture, the Senate yesterday rubber-stamped a bill to prevent gas shipments to Iran.

The Iran Gasoline Sanctions Bill threatens sanctions on foreign companies that supply gas to Iran, in what the legislature reckons is a move that will deter Tehran from pursuing its nuclear program.

The bill authorizes President Barack Obama to impose sanctions on companies that provide gasoline to Iran along with the firms that provide the insurance and tankers to move it.

"This bill has one overriding goal: To prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability," said Representative Howard Berman, co-sponsor of the legislation.

Laws are already in place to punish companies that invest more than $20 million a year in Iran's energy sector.

While the bill could conceivably prevent Iran from moving its nukes - should it ever actually build them - by road, it is perhaps naïve of US lawmakers to imagine no one will think of using a missile to deliver the finished article rather than a truck.

The Senate also seems to have missed the fact that Petroleum Intelligence Weekly ranks Iran's state-owned oil operation, NIOC, as the world's second largest oil company after Saudi Arabia's Aramco, with an estimated 137 billion barrels - or ten percent of the world's total - currently in reserve.