State Dept. Hypocrisy on Iran’s Fuel Row With Afghanistan

This is pretty rich. Iran, a country under economic sanctions by international bodies, the West, and, particularly, the U.S., has reportedly been stymying gas trucks crossing its border into war-ravaged Afghanistan. That country, of course, is consumed at the moment by a war between insurgents and an army from the West (NATO) and, pointedly, the U.S.

Just a week after an Iranian plan crashed, killing scores, which was quite possibly caused by the deterioration of Iranian commercial planes due to sanctions restricting spare parts, the U.S. is speaking about the right of every country to have access to energy. This comes while Congress and the Obama administration have put into place sanctions that specifically target Iranian access to refined gas. Do you see the irony?

Here’s State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley — who has more or less said in the past that the sanctions packages are a means to put pressure on Iranians as a collective, not just the leadership — responding to a question at a daily briefing in Washington:

QUESTION: Some kind of economic tension is brewing up between Afghanistan and Iran. Iran has blocked the supply of gas to Afghanistan, which has led to increasing gas prices and shortages of gas in Afghanistan. What do you have to say about that – on that?

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, we are watching closely that development. Energy is a critical resource to any country and any economy, and it should be available at whatever the appropriate market price is.

Want to qualify that statement now to say that gas should only be available to those countries that the U.S. believes deserve it?

Ali Gharib

Ali Gharib is a New York-based journalist on U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia. His work has appeared at Inter Press Service, where he was the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief; the Buffalo Beast; Huffington Post; Mondoweiss; Right Web; and Alternet. He holds a Master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A proud Iranian-American and fluent Farsi speaker, Ali was born in California and raised in D.C.



  1. Irony indeed. And it’s not just gas. To protect itself against being held hostage to the nuclear fuel monopoly of the Vienna Group (P5), Iran decided to develop its own supply of nuclear fuel. Other nations have noticed how the US has explicitly used nuclear fuel as a bargaining chip, denying the Tehran Research Reactor needed medical isotopes.

    And so, other nations are coming to realize that they, too, need to hedge their nuclear power and medical industries against P5 politics and have probably started to plan for how to secure their own supplies.

    As a consequence, Obama has done more to set back nuclear non-proliferation and to motivate proliferation than anyone since Harry Truman.

  2. Thank you for all your tireless reportings- always well sourced and unique in all Iran related blogsphere.
    On this particular subject- Is there any doubt that the export of Iranian refined petroleum into Afghanistan has been a great source of indirect subsidy to NATO and the US military? No way of knowing where these products end up once they cross the border. Fuel trucks coming up through Karachi to Afghanistan have been targeted by the Taliban, so the markup for the ones reaching their military gas guzzler targets, is huge. Iran was the only other major import route supplying Afghanistan with cheap high octane gas.

  3. And none of the journalists present pointed out the irony of Crawley’s comments?

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