New Iran sanctions not to disrupt oil markets: US

February 3rd, 2012 - 3:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 3 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The Obama administration will take steps to ensure that new US sanctions expected to be imposed on Iran in the near future do not hurt Washington’s partners and disrupt the global oil market, White House spokesperson Jay Carney has said.

“We want to make sure that the implementation of those sanctions is handled in a way that does not inadvertently do any harm to our allies or to the oil markets,” Carney told journalists in Washington.

“We believe there is a way to implement them appropriately that achieves the goal that those sanctions have, which is to further isolate and pressure Iran,” Carney said.

The US Senate Banking Committee approved Thursday a sweeping package of tough new sanctions intended to force Iran to drop its controversial nuclear program.

The new sanctions, which have yet to be approved by the US Congress, target foreign banks that handle transactions for Iran’s national oil and tanker companies, as well as foreign subsidiaries of US companies that do business with Iran. They also include measures that directly target individuals and companies linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Western nations suspect Iran, which is already under four sets of UN Security Council sanctions, of pursuing a secret nuclear weapons programme but Tehran insists it needs nuclear power solely for civilian purposes.

Tensions over Iran’s nuclear activities have reached boiling point since the Islamic Republic announced earlier this month that it had launched a nuclear enrichment programme at a well-protected underground facility near the city of Qom.

Tehran has also threatened to block the Straight of Hormuz, a strategic waterway where an estimated 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil passes, in response to a European ban on Iranian oil imports due to come into force July 1.

The International Monetary Fund has warned that sanctions on Iran by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) states could push oil prices up 20-30 percent to $140 per barrel unless alternative supplies from developing countries come on line.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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