Total halts gasoline shipments to Iran

June 29, 2010 at 8:58 AM

WASHINGTON, June 29 (UPI) -- French energy company Total said it halted gasoline sales to Iran as unilateral sanctions make their way to the desk of U.S. President Barack Obama.

Christophe de Margerie, the top executive at the French energy company, said in April that gasoline sales to Iran would discontinue if U.S. lawmakers moved on measures that would penalize companies involved in the Iranian energy sector.

The U.N. Security Council in June passed a new round of sanctions against Iran as punishment for its controversial nuclear sector. U.S. lawmakers last week passed a measure that would bar energy traders from U.S. markets.

Energy traders confirmed Total halted supplies to Iran about four weeks ago, the Financial Times reports.

International energy trader Vitol joined an elite set of companies earlier this year that halted energy sales to Iran because of the risk of sanctions.

Iran is unlikely to suffer from the sanctions because of its deals with Emirati and Chinese energy companies, however. Iranian officials, for their part, view the sanctions as an opportunity to become energy self-sufficient.

Obama is expected to sign the new measure before the July 4 holiday in the United States.

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