A recent agreement between four of Europe’s largest oil companies and the United States aimed at further isolating Iran is already having an impact, with Iran Air, the Islamic republic’s national carrier, unable to refuel its planes in most of Europe.
The fueling problem follows a new push by the Obama administration to move beyond the strict letter of sanctions it imposed to a broader attempt to discourage international businesses from dealing with Iran.
It also illustrates a shift away from an earlier U.S. policy of reaching out to the Iranian people and trying to target mostly state organizations central to Iran’s nuclear program. Officials now admit that the increased pressure is hurting ordinary Iranians but say they should blame their leaders for the Islamic republic’s increasing isolation.
Deputy Secretary of State James B. Steinberg said of the agreement:
‘The goal here is . . . to end companies from doing business within Iran.’
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