WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, welcomed a new report Wednesday that showed progress in isolating Iran through trade sanctions.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report sought to assess the impact of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA) of 2010 on the ability of Iran to purchase refined petroleum products that could aid its nuclear activities, support for terrorism, and human rights abuses. GAO found a sharp reduction in the number of companies that are publicly reported to be selling gasoline and other refined petroleum products to Iran since CISADA was enacted. Three Chinese firms and one Venezuela company continue to trade such products with Iran.
The three Senators said in a joint statement: “We are encouraged that the sanctions legislation passed by Congress two years ago has had a demonstrable impact in reducing the number of firms reported to be selling refined petroleum products to Iran. At the same time, we are deeply concerned that companies in one particular country – namely, China — now appear to dominate this trade. This must stop. We urge the Obama Administration to apply sanctions against those remaining companies — whether in China or anywhere else in the world — that continue to provide a lifeline to Iran.”
The GAO report – requested by Lieberman and Collins – was based on open-source information. It found that 16 firms reported selling refined petroleum products to Iran from January 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010, but only four sold these products between July 2010 and December 2011. According to Petroleum Intelligence Weekly, Iran imported about 130,000 barrels of gasoline per day in 2009; 78,000 barrels a day in 2010; and 50,000 barrels per day by July 2011.