Iranian lawmakers have finalized a draft legislation mandating an immediate ban on oil exports to Europe, preempting the European Union’s embargo on Iranian oil six months before it sets in.
“As long as the EU doesn’t lift the oil embargo, we won’t give them a drop of oil,” said Nasser Soudani, the deputy chairman of the energy committee. Prior to this, some 500,000 barrels arrived in Europe every day from Iran.
The EU embargo on Iranian oil, pushed stringently by the United States, was delayed for six months to let economically troubled countries such as Greece, Italy and Spain find alternative supplies. But the U.S. had been successful in pressuring EU countries to inflict more economic pain on themselves by cutting off one of their main oil suppliers.
The sanctions imposed on Iran by the U.S., and the EU embargo on Iranian oil, are aimed at stopping Tehran from enriching uranium, although it is their right under international law. Despite the fact that the U.S. intelligence community believes the Iranian nuclear program is entirely civilian in nature, Congress and the Obama administration have taken threatening postures for political purposes.
The move to cut off exports to the EU before the embargo sets in is an illustration of how poorly the sanctions program on Iran has worked. Instead of pressuring the Iranian government to conform to the wishes of the U.S. and its western allies, it has emboldened the regime.