July 30, 2009 | Press Release

Senate Votes to Penalize Companies Selling Gasoline to Iran

Would deny federal contracts to fill Strategic Petroleum Reserve

Washington, D.C. (July 30, 2009) — The Foundation for Defense of Democracies welcomed a Senate amendment to prevent companies that sell refined petroleum, including gasoline, to Iran from receiving contracts to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The amendment to the Fiscal Year 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations Act, offered by Senators Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Susan Collins (R-ME), was approved by unanimous consent.

“Congress has embraced the idea of using Iran's economic Achilles' Heel-its heavy dependence on gasoline imports for about 40% of its domestic needs-to pressure the regime into giving up its illegal nuclear weapons program,” said FDD Executive Director Mark Dubowitz. “This approach has attracted broad bipartisan support and should be brought to bear if Iran does not respond favorably to good-faith efforts to negotiate the end of its nuclear weapons program by the time of the G-20 Summit in September.”

“Congress is progressing from introducing Iran sanctions legislation to passing it,” said Orde Kittrie, an FDD senior fellow and professor of law at Arizona State University. “Patience with Iran on Capitol Hill appears to be running out and the screws are beginning to tighten.”

“The Iranian regime's recent stolen election and brutal crackdown is yet another in its long series of actions flouting international law,” said Kittrie, a former State Department official specializing in nonproliferation sanctions. “If the Iranian regime is to halt its illegal nuclear program, support for terrorism, and human rights abuses, we must change its cost-benefit analysis. This amendment is an important step toward that goal.”

Led by Dubowitz and Kittrie, FDD's Iran Energy Project has produced comprehensive research on Iran's need to import gasoline, the companies that supply Iran with gasoline, and policy options available to U.S., Canadian, and European lawmakers to encourage those companies to end their business relationships with the Iranian regime.

Earlier this year, FDD identified a total of over $553 million in contracts awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to three of Iran's refined petroleum suppliers-Vitol, Shell, and Glencore-to fill the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve as one such opportunity to influence the companies' business decisions.

For more information on the Foundation for Defense of Democracies' research and analysis of how Iran's dependence on imported gasoline can be used as leverage over its nuclear weapons program, please contact Judy Mayka at (202) 207-3698 or [email protected]


Iran Sanctions