British oil giant BP has reportedly ordered its operators across Europe to refuse to refuel any passenger airliners from Iran, claiming that to do so would be in violation of US sanctions passed against Iran last week.
The US sanctions against Iran attempted to strictly curb imports of refined petroleum, ostensibly to do damage to Iran’s uranium enrichment program. Officials had repeatedly insisted that the new sanctions were not intended to attack Iran’s civilian economy but were aimed at the government, however, suggesting that what would ultimately amount to a blanket ban on all air travel out of the country, at least in so far as the plane doesn’t have enough fuel for a round trip, might not have been its intention.
Officials from Britain and Germany have denied allegations that they had anything to do with the order to stop refueling Iranian civilian aircraft, following reports from the head of Iran’s Airlines Union of several incidents in those nations. British officials said that the ban was up to the individual company, while Germany insisted that there was no ban in place at all.
BP has longstanding ties to Iran, getting its start as the Anglo-Persian (later Anglo-Iranian) Oil Company, and found itself at the center of the 1953 CIA coup d’etat against Iran’s Mossadeq government, in no small part orchestrated to protect its oil interests in the nation.