Congress Shows Concern for Iranian Oil Imports


Two House bills seek to enforce sanctions on Iranian petroleum transactions.

Introduced in May, H.R. 3774, the SHIP Act, began the mark-up process in mid-October.

"This bill requires the President to impose visa- and property-blocking sanctions against foreign persons that knowingly transport, process, refine, or otherwise deal in petroleum and petroleum products originating in Iran. These sanctions also extend to certain foreign persons associated with the sanctioned individual, such as adult family members and any entities owned or controlled by the sanctioned individual," according to the bill's summary.

A second bill, H.R. 5923, "To impose restrictions on correspondent and payable-through accounts in the United States with respect to Chinese financial institutions that conduct transactions involving the purchase of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran," was introduced on Oct. 11.

Congress has long been concerned about Iranian oil transactions. The recent attacks by Hamas, which Iran supports, placed increased scrutiny on the exports.

United Against Nuclear Iran estimates that nearly all of Iran's petroleum exports go to China. Chinese buyers often fly under the radar of the U.S. financial system.

The two bills before Congress aim to rein in Iranian oil exports and impose sanctions on Chinese banks who facilitate the exports.


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