Is BP Alone in Enforcing European Jet-Fuel Sanctions Against Iran?

another installment of What I Want to Know Is

by johanna faust

The original text of the Statement by the President on H.R. 2194 may seem a little vague; the Act is "designed to pressure Iran by requiring sanctions on those persons investing in Iran's development of petroleum resources and exporting to Iran refined petroleum and items needed to strengthen Iran's refined petroleum production capability." Obviously this includes jet-fuel, when supplied to Iranian jets; obviously this includes all suppliers. Thus the Sydney Morning Herald reports, in Obama signs toughest-ever US sanctions on Iran:

President Barack Obama signed into law the toughest ever US sanctions on Iran, which he said would strike at Tehran's capacity to finance its Nuclear program and deepen its isolation. The measures, on top of new UN Security Council and European sanctions, aim to choke off Iran's access to imports of refined petroleum products like Gasoline and jet fuel and curb its access to the international banking System.

Much is being made of this move, at least on paper. The actual effect outside of main stram US media may differ: "However, the sanction or isolation of Iran is highly exaggerated by foreign-based opposition groups" states editor E Emrooz in a Tehran Times editorial entitled “Sanctions and Anti-Sanctions.”

This does seem to be the case. From "Britain, Germany, UAE deny refusing fuel to Iran planes" we learn that the German office of Iran Air dismissed reports of service interruptions originating from Tehran, saying "It is not correct," that refueling had continued without interruption; in Great Britain, a government official stated

"At present Her Majesty's Government is not aware of any occasions when fuel has been refused in the UK."

And a Dubai airport spokesman said Iranian planes were still able to refuel. "Iranian planes travelling to and from Dubai through Dubai International Airport still enjoy the refueling service," he said.

The General Civil Aviation Authority which oversees the sector in the UAE, of which Dubai is a member, said it did not have information of any such ban on Iranian planes.

But here's where it gets interesting: "a source close to the aviation sector in the UAE" said there were problems with one international supplier of jet-fuel:

"A servicing company which provides fueling at several airports around the world has refused to provide Iranian planes with fuel, including at UAE terminals," he said."The Iranian air operators have alternative sources for refueling at UAE airports," he added, requesting anonymity.

Which servicing company could that be?

BP PLC (BP, BP.LN) has instructed its European operations not to refuel Iranian airlines after U.S. President Barack Obama signed sanctions targeting Iran's gasoline supplies, people familiar with the matter said Monday.

The document ordered a ban on refueling for several Iranian airlines, including Iran Air, the people said. "It's due to a decision from the U.S. Congress," one person said.

But not all non-U.S. companies have decided to enforce the sanctions when it comes to refueling. A spokesman for Dubai's airport told AFP on Monday that Iranian passenger planes are still able to refuel at the airport.

Isn't that a little strange?

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