Tuesday, December 15, 2009

U.S. House of Representatives passes Iran gasoline sanctions bill

(Reuters, Haaretz).The U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation on Tuesday to impose sanctions on foreign companies that help supply gasoline to Iran, a move lawmakers hope will deter Tehran from pursuing its nuclear program.

The bill authorizes President Barack Obama to levy sanctions on energy companies that directly provide gasoline to Iran along with the firms that provide insurance and tankers to facilitate the fuel shipments. The Senate is likely to approve a similar bill, but it is uncertain how soon it will vote.

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

"We must use all the tools at our disposal, from diplomacy to sanctions, to stop Iran's march toward nuclear capability," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "By targeting Iran's ongoing dependence from largely imported refined petroleum we reduce the chance that Iran will acquire the capacity to produce nuclear weapons."

The legislation passed the House in a 412-to-12 vote.

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Ambassador of Israel to the United States, Michael Oren, commended the bill.

?The State of Israel deeply appreciates the unflagging commitment of President Obama and the U.S. Congress to prevent Iran from acquiring the military nuclear capability threatening world peace," Oren said.