The US State Department recently imposed trade sanctions against a Swiss-based oil company controlled by the government of Iran.
The sanctions, which took effect on Wednesday, prohibit US banks from loaning more than $10 million a year to the company, Naftiran Intertrade Co., or NICO. They also bar it from receiving any the US government contracts.
However, the language of the sanctions doesn’t specify, or imply, any measures against NICO’s business partners—foremost among them, BP.
The British and Iranian companies cooperate on oil projects in the North Sea and elsewhere.
BP also happens to be a leading fuel supplier to the US military, behind Shell—which also does business with NICO.
The Pentagon buys at least $3.6 billion a year in fuel from BP and Shell; it’s unlikely either company will face a US government procurement ban any time soon.
As long as the war machine runs on petrol—or until some neo-Beverly Hillbilly finds a miraculous gusher somewhere in the lower 48—US leaders can’t do much but complain when their foreign fuel suppliers partner up with declared enemies of America.
The latest news on the NICO sanctions follows the release of a US government report listing 16 international companies that sell oil to Iran. Despite denying having done so, BP made that list, too.