On Tuesday, the Obama Administration announced a new round of sanctions against seven companies that were found in violation of Iran energy sanctions passed into law last year.
One of the companies, PDVSA, was sanctioned for selling Iran a compound called reformate—which is used to make gasoline burn cleaner.
As reported in December by the Washington Post, U.S. sanctions have prevented Iran from importing gasoline, which has led Iran to turn out a lower quality, locally produced gas mixture. The local gas is highly toxic and has caused a spike in air pollution that has been linked to a rise in repertory disorders and even cancer.
Now, the U.S. has imposed sanctions on a company for selling Iran reformate that can used to detoxify that gas.
Administration officials were asked about the move by a BBC Persian reporter yesterday:
“We’ve been getting lots of reports of medical experts in Iran saying what Iran is producing inside in haste is not clean and it’s causing cancer…Now, you’re targeting a company that is selling them an equipment to clean that up. How do you justify that, telling the Iranian people that we want to make sure the gasoline you’re driving on is not even clean?
The official response was that “the Administration is charged with implementing the law, and the law is very clear that refined products, including reformate, are subject to the sanctions.”
So that begs the question for lawmakers like Senator Mark Kirk, who presents himself as a champion of human rights in Iran while simultaneously calling for draconian nuclear sanctions: how can you claim to support the Iranian people while at the same time working to poison the air they breathe?