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Context of '2004: Iran Forced to Import Gasoline'

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Michael Ledeen joins with Morris Amitay, vice-president of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs; ex-CIA head James Woolsey; former Reagan administration official Frank Gaffney; former senator Paul Simon; and oil consultant Rob Sobhani to set up a group called the Coalition for Democracy in Iran (CDI). (Sunday Herald (Glasgow) 6/1/2003) CDI says it “fully agrees with President Bush’s inclusion of Iran in the ‘axis of evil’ and supports congressional initiatives to bring about needed change in Iran.” (Coalition for Democracy 1/16/2004) The group has strong ties to Reza Pahlavi, the son of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the US-backed leader of Iran who was removed from power by the 1979 Iranian Revolution. (Kamran 6/6/2003)

Iran, despite being OPEC’s second largest oil exporter, is forced to import a billion dollars worth of gasoline due to demand outstripping the country’s limited refining capacity. “We use 50 million liters of fuel each day, 10 percent more than just a year ago,” Seyyed Reza Kasaizadeh, planning director for the national refining and distribution company NIORDC, tells the Persian daily Khorasan. Roughly a quarter of that amount is purchased by the government on the open market, and then sold to the public at the same subsidized price as domestically refined fuel—roughly 35 cents per gallon. (Iran Daily 12/12/2004) In addition to the subsidy program’s actual costs, the program also represents “a huge opportunity cost, because they could be selling that at world prices,” Ben Faulks, an analyst for the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit, tells the Washington Post in mid-2005. Iran hopes that its nuclear energy program will solve this problem by reducing the country’s industrial oil consumption needs. The country would then be able to sell more of its oil at market prices and substantially increase its revenue. (Vick 7/4/2005)

Asadollah Mikaeeli, the director of planning at National Iranian Oil Derivatives Refining and Distribution Company, announces that since 1982, Iran has doubled its oil refining capacity from 750,000 to 1.6 million barrels per day (mmpd). Notwithstanding, the country continues to import many petroleum products like gasoline and diesel, he says. (Alexander's Gas & Oil Connections 2/25/2004)


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