A subsidiary of Iran's Swiss-based national oil company is the latest firm to be sanctioned under new U.S. measures, in a move welcomed by local lawmakers.
On Sept. 30, the United States sanctioned Naftiran Intertrade Company under the Iran Sanctions Act passed by Congress earlier in the year.
Companies that reportedly have told the United States they have stopped doing business with Iran include the Turkish refiner Tupras, the French oil group Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Kuwait's Independent Petroleum Group, and India's Reliance. BP and Shell have told the State Department that they are no longer supplying jet fuel to Iran Air.
Last week, Washington placed financial and travel sanctions on eight senior Iranian officials accused of human rights violations.
Rep. Rush Holt (D-Dist. 12) said in a statement he was "pleased that the Administration is swiftly implementing the sanctions that Congress passed in June. While Iran continues to defy its obligations to the international community, these targeted sanctions are beginning to have an effect."
Holt's statement said it was "equally important" that the United States is taking action against those responsible for human rights abuses against ordinary Iranians.
"Now that the new Iran sanctions bill has gone into effect, I'll press the administration to enforce it vigorously and monitor its impact. Stopping Iran from building nuclear weapons will require the strongest political and economic pressure our country can muster. And we absolutely need to do it -- it's in the most vital interest of the United States, Israel, and the world."
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Dist. 8) also praised the move.
"I'm pleased to see that the Administration is using the tools that Congress made available in order to confront Iran on its human rights abuses and nuclear program," he wrote in an e-mail. "I was a cosponsor and strong supporter of H.R. 2194, The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010, which authorized an array of tough new economic sanctions and penalties against Iran. Already we are seeing signs these sanctions, and the additional measures secured by President Obama at the United Nations, are having an effect on the regime's ability to do international business. The Administration must vigorously enforce these measures in the months ahead."
Rep. Chris Smith (R-Dist. 4) also emphasized follow-up.
"Now that the new Iran sanctions bill has gone into effect, I'll press the administration to enforce it vigorously and monitor its impact," he said in an e-mailed statement. "Stopping Iran from building nuclear weapons will require the strongest political and economic pressure our country can muster. And we absolutely need to do it -- it's in the most vital interest of the United States, Israel and the world."
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Dist. 5): "I'm encouraged to see the Obama administration announce the imposition of sanctions against human rights violators in Iran, as well as against Naftiran. However, I do wish to see the administration take the threat of a nuclear Iran more seriously. There are several other energy corporations that continue to do business with Iran. Now is the time for the U.S. to apply additional pressure to convince Iran to discontinue its nuclear weapon ambitions. I urge the Obama administration to move more aggressively to fully implement the Iran sanctions passed by Congress."
Senator Robert Menendez (D): "So long as Iran persists in its efforts to advance its nuclear program, the United States will persist in its efforts to deny Iran the requisite resources and technology. While I believe that most companies will abide by their legal and moral obligation to cease doing business with Iran's oil and gas sectors, we will not hesitate to sanction any company that jeopardizes our collective security by continuing to do business in Iran in defiance of U.S. law. As a member of the conference committee that crafted the Iran sanctions law, I intend to watch it closely to ensure it is fully enforced."
Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D) : "The Obama Administration has taken an important step by enforcing sanctions on Iran mandated by Congress earlier this year. The sanctions against Naftiran Intertrade Company (NICO) send a message that we are serious about preventing a nuclear Iran, and I am encouraged to see that four major international oil and gas companies have committed to stopping their business with Iran. I also applaud the executive order targeting Iranian officials for serious human rights abuses. This strong condemnation of human rights abuses demonstrates our continued support for the rule of law and the right of the Iranian people to speak freely and participate in free and fair elections. As long as Iran continues to flaunt international law and threaten the security of the Middle East and the entire world, I will support strong sanctions aimed at stopping this threat."