UNSC vote on Iran sanctions.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Two weeks after US President Barack Obama signed into law stiff sanctions
against Iran, officials in Jerusalem said Thursday that the American steps, as
well as the EU and UN sanctions, are starting to be felt in Teheran.
officials said that while the steps taken by some leading international
companies against Iran in the wake of the sanctions have started to have an
impact, it was necessary for the international community to keep up the pressure
on the Iranians.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has for months
been saying that only sanctions against Iran’s energy sector would have an
impact, said after his meeting at the White House last week with Obama that the
US sanctions “actually have teeth. They bite.”
Netanyahu urged other
leaders to “follow the president’s lead, and other countries to follow the US
lead, to adopt much tougher sanctions against Iran, primarily those directed
against its energy sector.”
Russia, however, didn’t seem to be heeding
this call, with Russia’s energy minister saying Wednesday that Russian companies
were ready to supply Iran with fuel.
“Russian companies are prepared to
deliver oil products to Iran. The possibility of delivering oil products to Iran
exists, if there is a commercial interest,” said Russian Energy Minister Sergei
Russia has expressed displeasure with sanctions that the US and
EU passed in addition to the UN Security Council sanctions, which both Russia
and China signed on to.
“Sanctions cannot hinder us,” Russian news
agencies quoted Shmatko as saying after a meeting in Moscow with Iranian
Petroleum Minister Massoud Mir Kazemi. According to press reports, the two
signed a “road map” outlining bilaterally energy cooperation.
Russians and Iran were dealing with bilateral agreements, numerous international
corporations have begun changing their business operations to comply with the US
Iran Sanctions Legislation.
For instance, the French energy trader Total
announced that it has suspended all sales of gasoline and refined petroleum
products to Iran; Spain’s Repsol backed out of a contract to develop part of an
Iranian natural gas field; The UK’s BP announced that it will stop providing
fuel to Iranian airplanes, as jet fuel qualifies as refined petroleum; and Royal
Dutch Shell reportedly will not renew its contracts to supply Iran Air with jet
fuel. The company ceased providing gasoline to Iran in March.
insurance sphere, Lloyd’s of London – the world’s premier maritime insurance
broker – announced that it would restrict insurance for any vessels shipping
petroleum to Iran.
Lloyd’s General Counsel Sean McGovern was quoted
Friday as saying, “The US is an important market for Lloyd’s and, in
of this, the market will not insure or reinsure refined petroleum going
Regarding banking, the United Arab Emirate’s central bank ordered
financial institutions in the country to freeze accounts belonging to
And the South Korean government, meanwhile, has
stopped its export credit agency from granting export credits to South
companies doing business in Iran, while a large South Korean
company – GS Engineering & Construction – suspended a $1.2 billion
to build a refinery for an Iranian natural gas field.