The push for additional sanctions against Iran has yet to materialize, but the United States, in the meantime, continues in its behind-the-scenes efforts to dry out the wayward country's energy industry, which depends greatly on foreign assistance.
On Friday, the New York Times reported that the US administration published a list of 41 companies that have held ties with the Islamic Republic's gas and oil sector in the past five years.
According to the document, which was drawn up by Government Accountability Office, the companies listed supplied expertise, equipment and funding to Iranian fuel companies, and helped lay gas and oil pipelines, thus enabling Iran to increase its energy production.
Iran drills oil from its own territory, but has difficulty refining it, and requires external assistance to do so.
There are no American companies on the list, but it does include the China National Petroleum Corporation, which was reportedly funding an oil field in an agreement with the Iranian government estimated at about $2 billion.
The list also includes the South Korean Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marin Engineering company, which was reportedly building tanker ships fro Iran in a deal valued at $384 million.
The document does not determine whether the companies named violated the existing sanctions against Iran, but it recommended any foreign company investing over $20 million a year in the Iranian fuel industry be penalized.
" Clearly, we need to take a tougher stance against companies tied to Iran’s refined petroleum capacity,” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, who has been pushing for hearings on companies that do business in Iran told the New York Times.
“Companies whose profits fuel Iran’s nuclear ambitions should not be allowed to do business with the US or benefit from the US economy — period,” she added.
It should be noted that additional legislation aimed at strengthening sanctions on companies working with Iran is currently being pushed in the House of Representatives and the Senate.