Biden Admin Slow Rolls Oil Sanctions Against Russia, Iran In Bid To Keep Gas Prices Down Ahead Of Election

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The Biden administration is hesitating to fully enforce oil sanctions against Iran and Russia amid a bid to stabilize gas prices ahead of the U.S. presidential election in November, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The administration has routinely condemned Russia and Iran for their malign activities against U.S. allies and hit the two countries with several rounds of sanctions, most recently against Iran on Tuesday, according to the WSJ. But as the administration wants to keep global oil markets stable and ensure domestic gas prices don’t rise, sanctions are not being fully enforced against these nations, former U.S. officials, diplomats and energy experts briefed on the matter told the WSJ. (RELATED: Congress Inches Closer To Unshackling American Nuclear Energy)

“The president has wanted to do everything that he could to make sure that American consumers have the lowest price possible at the pump, as it affects families’ daily lives,” a senior Biden administration official told the WSJ.

The latest sanctions enforced against Iran only affect a fragment of the country’s oil exports and won’t likely have any substantial effect on global markets, analysts told the WSJ. Since President Joe Biden took office in 2021, Iran’s oil exports have skyrocketed and raked in billions for the Islamic regime; the administration’s Homeland Security Investigations had not seized an Iranian oil shipment in over a year as of September.

Sanctions against Russia since it opened a war against Ukraine in 2022 haven’t significantly affected the country’s economy or oil exports, according to the WSJ. The Biden administration asked Ukraine to stop targeting Russia’s oil refineries after an attack against one in March unnerved global markets.

The Treasury Department hit Russia with new sanctions in June, but only went after banks instead of the country’s oil industry, the WSJ reported.

Officials in the Treasury Department have become frustrated that the administration is not doing enough to target networks that facilitate Russian and Iranian oil exports, diplomats and energy experts briefed on the matter told the WSJ. Some administration officials worry that sweeping measures against sanctioned nations’ oil industries would be too consequential to global markets and drive up domestic inflation, people with knowledge of the matter told the WSJ.

Average gas prices across the U.S. totaled roughly $3.50 per gallon as of June 2024, according to the Energy Information Administration. Gas prices throughout the former Trump administration from 2017 to 2021 never rose above $3.00.

Only 38% of voters had confidence in Biden’s ability to steer the economy straight as of May, down from 57% in 2021, according to a Gallup poll. Roughly half of Americans believe the same of former President Donald Trump, Biden’s chief opposition in the November presidential election.

“Nothing terrifies an American president more than a gasoline-pump price spike,” said Bob McNally, president of consulting firm Rapidan Energy Group and former White House policy official under George W. Bush, told the WSJ. “They will go to great lengths to prevent this, especially in an election year.”

The White House did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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