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U.S. to Tighten Sanctions on Iran’s Oil Industry Amid Israel-Hamas War

The United States will tighten sanctions on Iran’s oil industry amid the Israel-Hamas conflict aiming to bring exports down by more than 1 million bpd, White House energy security adviser Amos Hochstein told Bloomberg.

“We are going to enforce those sanctions,” Hochstein said. “Those numbers will come down.”

“I think the best anecdote to revenues in Iran is keeping their exports at a lower level, but also to make sure prices are lower,” he said.

Talk about tighter sanctions against Iran’s oil industry intensified in the wake of the latest war in the Middle East with hawks in Congress blaming Iran of helping plan the Hamas attacks and advising pre-emptive action against Tehran before it became more involved in the conflict.

Tehran has denied any involvement in the Hamas attacks on Israel that ignited the war. At the same time it has repeatedly warned that the violence will escalate.

"If the Zionist aggressions do not stop, the hands of all parties in the region are on the trigger," Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said last month.

Meanwhile, Congress recently passed legislation aimed at entities helping Iran export its oil. Dubbed the SHIP bill (Stop Harboring Iranian Petroleum) would sanction foreign ports and refineries processing Iranian petroleum illicitly exported. The bill requires passage by the Senate and presidential signing to become law.

The bill "sends a clear and strong message to bad actors like China, Russia, and others – do not help Iran avoid sanctions and assist them in their funding of terror, or face the consequences," one Republican representative said, as quoted by Reuters, at the time.

There are also other bills that U.S. legislators are discussing, all aimed at pressuring Iran.

Iranian oil exports declined for the second consecutive month in October, with the country loading 1.43 million barrels per day of crude and condensate, Bloomberg reported earlier this month, citing TankerTrackers.com data. The volume loaded for export in October was 194,000 bpd lower than September and reportedly the lowest export-loading volume since July. 

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By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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