The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Saying ‘Yes’ to Iran, ‘No’ to U.S.

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 19, 2015

The question Americans should be asking right now: Why is the Obama administration actively working to clear the way for Iran to resume trading its crude oil on the global market while it opposes legislation that would do the same for U.S. oil?

It’s a great question for which the administration can offer no good answer, because there isn’t one.

Yet, that’s the policy disconnect that is unfolding before Americans’ very eyes, with the weekend news that the administration approved conditional sanctions waivers for Iran that at some point will let the Iranians resume exporting their oil to the world – within days of the White House threatening to veto bipartisan legislation in Congress that would end the 1970s-era ban on U.S. oil exports. Reuters reports:

In a memo, [President Obama] directed the secretaries of state, treasury, commerce and energy “to take all necessary steps to give effect to the U.S. commitments with respect to sanctions described in (the Iran deal).”

Now, compare the intent to lift sanctions on Iran – which, again, would allow Iranian oil back into the global market – with the White House’s intent to continue claiming credit for America’s energy revolution while in reality it has done nothing to actually encourage it:

The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 702, which would remove restrictions on the export of crude oil. … Legislation to remove crude export restrictions is not needed at this time.

The result of these two positions couldn’t be clearer: Iran will be on a path to trading oil globally again, the United States will remain self-sanctioned from the world market; Iran soon will realize the economic benefits of trade, the United States will continue denying trade and economic benefits to its citizens; Iran soon will join other energy suppliers in the global crude oil market, the United States will find itself less competitive with other suppliers; Iran will be able to harness its energy potential, the United States will keep its energy potential locked away, to no one’s benefit.

Policy matters. It matters to our economy, to job creation, to domestic energy development, to America’s ability to exert positive influences on global supply and to help U.S. allies. API President and CEO Jack Gerard, during a conference call with reporters last week:

“[U]nfortunately, the direction right now … is we’re going to allow Iran access to that global market as a result of the lifting of sanctions the administration has been pushing, yet we have restricted our own nation, American producers, the same opportunity we’re giving Iran. I don’t think the American public is going to tolerate that for a second. … Five, six, seven years ago, no one would have predicted the United States would become the superpower of energy in this world, and yet that’s exactly where we are. And with the right policies that don’t restrict us, that don’t give the Iranians an unfair advantage over the Americans, we can achieve that potential.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.