Want to Pressure Iran? Stop Buying Oil.

Photo by XcBiker, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/xcbiker/740500486/">via Flickr</a>.

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Want to apply “consistent and steady” international pressure on Iran, as President Barack Obama said world leaders should do recently? Stop sending them oil money.

How to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons is a core subject of the Nuclear Security Summit underway in Washington this week. A new analysis from the Center for American Progress suggests that cutting the amount of oil we buy, via a cap on carbon dioxide pollution, is a good place to start. While we don’t buy oil directly from Iran, we are the world’s biggest consumer of petroleum, driving up demand:</p>

Iran, “which holds the world’s second-biggest oil and gas reserves and supplies about 4.5 percent of the world’s oil production,” uses its oil power “as a strategic asset.” Even though oil is “one of history’s Big Levers concerning Iran,” the idea of gas sanctions to control Iran’s oil income is not likely to succeed, and could even backfire.

One mechanism to control the flow of petrodollars to Iran—whose oil production is worth $120 billion a year at current prices—is for the United States to control its appetite for oil. Based on an economic analysis by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology of a carbon cap that reduces global warming pollution by 80 percent by 2050, the Wonk Room has found that Iran would lose approximately $1.8 trillion worth of oil revenues over the next forty years — over $100 million a day.

Dan Lashof, director of the climate center at the Natural Resources Defense Council, has a great post echoing this point. One of the big questions about the pending climate and energy bill is whether its method of pricing petroleum will prove effective in cutting oil consumption. But it’s worth remembering that reducing oil use would yield more than environmental benefits alone.

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate