How could the Iran sanctions affect global oil prices and, consequently, gasoline prices in the United States?
The financial sanctions on Iran officially kicked in last week, and energy economists aren't yet certain about their impact. But what is clear is that oil prices are falling globally from their high in April--in part thanks to increased production from Saudi Arabia. Some lawmakers are starting to talk about imposing a second round of sanctions if Iran continues to resist scrutiny of its nuclear program.
What factors should the Obama administration and other countries consider when imposing sanctions? What other actions, such as tapping into the nation's strategic oil reserves, could the administration take to blunt the possibility of high oil prices? Is the administration doing enough at home to wean the country off foreign oil?
The administration recently exempted certain countries from sanctions because they significantly reduced the volume of crude-oil imports from Iran. Do you see the exemptions as a demonstration of the sanctions' effectiveness? Or do you agree with those lawmakers who have criticized the exemption, in particular to China, as giving a "free pass" to those who help Iran's economy? If these countries can't further reduce their oil purchases from Iran in the next six months, and become subject to U.S. sanctions, how would this strategy impact foreign policy?