Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at a ceremony at the country’s Natanz nuclear facility in 2009.
On Friday, President Obama prepared to put the squeeze on Iran’s international oil business as an oblique, but not ambiguous, means of pressuring Tehran about its nuclear program by laying the groundwork for more sanctions. —KA
The New York Times:
President Obama has determined there is enough oil in world markets to allow countries to rely less on imports from Iran, a step that could increase Western actions to deter Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, an administration official said Friday.
[...] Mr. Obama’s decision was to be announced Friday afternoon in a conference call, the official said. He made the decision after consultations with a number of oil exporters that had agreed to increase production. The decision comes even as gas prices have risen in recent months, a rise that his political advisers say could hamper his re-election efforts.
The new sanctions, passed as part of the defense budget and mandated by the Senate in a rare 100-to-0 vote, penalize foreign corporations or other entities that purchase oil from Iran’s central bank, which collects payment for most of the country’s energy exports. The penalties are meant to pressure Iran to curb its nuclear program.