President Barack Obama cleared the way for the imposition of sanctions aimed at banks in countries that import Iranian oil, the latest U.S. step to ratchet up pressure on the government in Tehran.
The president determined that world oil supplies are sufficient to proceed with the congressionally mandated sanctions, according to a memorandum released by the White House.
“There is a sufficient supply of petroleum and petroleum products from countries other than Iran to permit a significant reduction in the volume of petroleum and petroleum products purchased from Iran by or through foreign financial institutions,” the president said in the memorandum.
Obama cited current global economic conditions, increased production by certain countries, the level of spare capacity and the existence of strategic reserves to reach his decision.
Under a law signed by Obama Dec. 31, banks that settle petroleum-related transactions through Iran’s central bank in any country that has failed to show a “significant reduction” in Iranian oil imports would be cut off from the U.S. banking system. The law requires reductions by June 28.
Crude oil for May delivery rose 69 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $103.47 a barrel at 12:33 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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