Rep. Ted Deutch Asks Secretary of State to Restrict Travel of Incoming OPEC President By Sanctioning Companies Providing Aircraft Fuel
August 15, 2011- Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL) appeared on Fox and Friends this morning to discuss a letter he sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging the United States to impose sanctions restricting the travel of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Rostam Ghasemi, who was recently appointed as Iran’s new oil minister and de facto president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
A recent article by the Wall Street Journal noted that Ghasemi is “the former head of Khatam al-Anbia, a Guards-controlled engineering firm that has been designated by the U.S., the EU, and the U.N. for its role in nuclear proliferation.” Khatam al-Anbia is the economic wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard which provides the majority of the funds use to run Iran's nuclear program. In addition to perpetrating the most egregious human rights abuses on its own people, the IRGC is also using its resources to aid the brutal crackdown in Syria, having provided over $6 billion in weapons and technology to Syrian security forces.
Ghasemi has been subject to US and EU travel bans for several years, but as the host country for OPEC headquarters, Ghasemi can take advantage of a loophole that allows him into Austria for official OPEC meetings. This loophole has also facilitated the travel of Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, also under international sanctions for his role as head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency, and Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi, who in addition to appearing on numerous blacklists, is under an Interpol red alert for his role in the 1994 AMIA bombings in Argentina.
Rep. Deutch's letter urges the Secretary of State to utilize the refined petroleum sanctions provided in the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 to sanction any company who provides aircraft fuel to plans transporting blacklisted Iranian officials.