By: Ingrid Krüger
On October 7 last year, in his second presidential election debate, meeting Senator McCain, Barack Obama stated that “We cannot allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon. (…) And I will do everything that’s required to prevent it. (…) if we can prevent them from importing the gasoline that they need and the refined petroleum products, that starts changing their cost-benefit analysis. That starts putting the squeeze on them.” Obama’s patience is not unlimited and Iran might soon be standing face-to-face with the “dire consequences” Obama talked about if Iran wouldn’t change its behavior. The text of the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009 refers to these exact statements by Obama.
The Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009 was introduced as a bill on April 30 this year, but has not yet been passed. The proposed law would expand economic sanctions against Iran, specifically by punishing companies and individuals who are helping Iran’s petroleum sector. The bill is targeting those who are helping Iran maintain or expand its domestic production of refined petroleum resources, including assistance in refinery construction, modernization, or repair. Further, the bill aims to sanction those helping Iran import refined petroleum resources.
On the issue of Iran, then-Senator Obama stressed that it was necessary with direct talks with both friends and enemies. Now they have had direct talks. The question is what comes next, considering that these talks have not led to Iran “changing its behavior”, at least not in the way Obama was hinting at, but rather Iran has now announced that they will expand their uranium enrichment. So what does it take for the patience of president Obama to reach its limit? Obama might just be eager to sign the bill.