December 14, 2011
Over the past few weeks Iran, already beleaguered by a raft of existing U.N. and national sanctions, has seen the U.S. and the European Community adding further economic punishments.
Last week the U.S. Senate on a 100-0 vote passed legislation to penalize foreign banks that do business with Iran’s central bank, while this week the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on legislation to punish nations and companies that invest in Iran’s energy sector, furnish it with gasoline, or help it develop chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons or advanced conventional arms.
The European Union recently imposed sanctions on nearly 150 Iranian companies and dozens of individuals and is examining the feasibility of additional measures that could include restrictions on oil imports and gasoline exports to and from Iran.
Many advocates favor restricting Iranian gasoline imports, which in October rose over 21 percent, increasing to 63,279 barrels per day (bpd) from 51,986 bpd in September.
As in earlier threats to its economy, Iran is not taking the latest international threat lying down.
Iranian Minister of Industry, Mining, and Trade, Mehdi Ghazanfari, speaking on 8 December at the inauguration of Iran’s first gas to liquid (GTL) refining facility in Abbasabad’s industrial park told his audience, “Today, on the subject of research and technology, various national technologies have come together to stop sanctions by utilizing advanced technology.”