Iran’s Oil, Tanker Companies Targeted for Sanctions by Lawmakers
January 31, 2012, 7:32 PM EST
By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan
Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) — Iran’s national oil company and its oil-tanker fleet are the focus of sanctions measures that two U.S. lawmakers intend to submit to Congress aimed at blocking Iran’s ability to sell its crude internationally.
Representative Howard Berman, a California Democrat, and Senator Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, plan to file similar proposals today to compel the U.S. Treasury Department to investigate whether the National Iranian Oil Co. and the National Iranian Tanker Co. are owned or controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to congressional aides.
Such a determination by the Treasury would permit the U.S. to impose sanctions on foreign financial institutions that facilitate transactions for NIOC or NITC anywhere in the world, by shutting down or imposing strict conditions on the foreign institutions’ U.S. bank accounts, according to the aides who spoke on condition of anonymity since the legislation hasn’t been filed.
The proposed designation of Iran’s oil and tanker companies would add to an array of new penalties imposed on Iran by the U.S. and the European Union over the past three months.
The Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite military unit that the U.S. Treasury says has taken significant control of important sectors of the Iranian economy, has been the target of numerous international sanctions imposed by the U.S., the United Nations and others for involvement in illicit nuclear and missile activities and sponsorship of terrorism.
Cutting Iran’s Revenue
Menendez and Berman have been strong proponents of sanctions to deprive Iran’s government of revenue needed to finance any illicit nuclear activities and to force its leaders to return to nuclear negotiations.
Berman, the senior minority member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, plans to submit his measure to target NIOC and
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