US Seeking Total Ban on Iran’s Oil

From Press TV

After failing to halt Iran’s peaceful nuclear program with harsh economic sanctions, a group of U.S. lawmakers are proposing a measure to cut off Iran entirely from world oil markets.

While critics have cast doubt over the practicality of such measure, U.S. officials claim that increases in oil and gas production in the Middle East and North America have made a global boycott of Iran’s crude oil possible, reported the Washington Post.

“If we’re talking about things that could really hurt the Iranian economy, at the top of the list is taking their oil off the market,” a senior Senate aide, involved in discussions of the proposal, told the Post on condition of anonymity.

The aide described “strong interest, on a bipartisan level,” in the plan that would require all countries to stop buying oil from Iran or risk losing access to the U.S. banking system.

Among those who support a total ban on Iran’s oil exports, according to the Post, are Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), a member of the Appropriations Committee and a leading Senate hawk on Iran sanctions.

Critics, however, have maintained that such a measure would disrupt oil markets, alienate U.S. allies, and drive up energy prices.

Major customers of Iran’s oil are China, Japan, India, and South Korea. Critics believe that the proposed measure of a global boycott of Iran’s oil would face serious diplomatic challenges.

The Obama administration has already put in place the toughest sanctions ever imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran, including new measures targeting, for the first time, the country’s entire financial system.

The U.S.-engineered sanctions have been imposed on the Iranian nation based on the allegations that Iran’s nuclear energy program is a cover for military purposes.

Tehran vehemently rejects the accusations as baseless and politically-motivated.

Iran says, as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

Critics believe that the U.S.-engineered sanctions on Iran are intended to hurt Iranian people and the allegations that Iran’s nuclear energy program is military-oriented are just an excuse.

The Huffington Post reported last week that Senator Kirk, Republican of Illinois, has introduced a piece of legislation that would push Congress to pursue a “regime change” policy against Iran.

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