Saeed Leylaz, an economist and political analyst in Tehran, said, "The high gasoline consumption has made Iran very vulnerable, and this is a security decision now."
"We are importing gasoline from 16 different countries," he said. "The country would be on the verge of collapse if they suddenly decide not to sell us gasoline. The government has to find a way to lower the consumption."
In Washington on Thursday, leaders of a bipartisan House panel, led by Representative Mark Steven Kirk, Republican of Illinois, and Representative Robert Andrews, Democrat of New Jersey, proposed legislation intended to punish any company that provides Iran with gasoline or helps it import gasoline after Dec. 31. Such a company could lose its access to American customers through sanctions.
The Iranian government had planned for a year to ration gasoline but had postponed the move, fearing unrest. Iran offers the highest subsidies for gasoline in the region, buying foreign gasoline for slightly more than $2 a gallon, according to official figures, and offering it for 34 cents a gallon.
"Iran is in a bind," said Vera de Ladoucette, an energy analyst with Cambridge Energy Research Associates in Paris. "They have acted too late and too harshly."
Friday, June 29, 2007
Rep Kirk turns the screws on Iran