Seventy percent of Iran's government revenues are secured by oil exports, fueling the nation's nuclear program and its ability to undermine global security.
Last year, Congress passed strict sanctions against Iran that limited its ability to export oil, and most U.S. allies followed suit by enacting similar sanctions. Unfortunately, the sanctions have been less than effective.
As originally written, they would have established a global embargo against Iranian oil. But during Senate consideration of the sanctions, many nations urged modification out of fear they would be unable to secure their energy needs without Iranian supplies.
Rather than fully eliminating oil-purchasing from Iran, the final sanctions required the global community to significantly reduce their dependency.
Even with the global community complying with the sanctions, Iran still exports 1.25 million barrels of oil per day. These exports supply financial resources to an evil regime intent on harming America and our allies.
While our nation does not import from Iran, the United States remains the largest oil importer in the world despite our abundance of untapped natural resources. If we were to unleash our own potential in the energy sector, American production could single-handedly free up global supply, eliminate the need for any Iranian oil in the marketplace and economically isolate Iran.
To accomplish this, I am introducing the Iran Sanctions Implementation Act of 2013. The bill requires the president to designate portions of the federal land estate as "Iranian Oil Replacement Zones" so that production on federal lands will increase by 1.25 million barrels of oil per day, enough oil to fully offset current Iranian exports.
The zones would be subject to expedited permitting procedures to allow producers to quickly bring oil to market and allow the world to replace Iranian oil with supplies we would no longer be importing ourselves.
Significant oil reserves, to the magnitude of tens of billions of barrels, are locked away on federal lands in the Mountain West, Alaska and offshore. The Institute for Energy Research estimates that if we aggressively pursue these resources, $14.4 trillion in economic activity will be generated, 2.5 million jobs will be created and the federal deficit will be reduced by $2.7 trillion.
The global community has shown that it is dedicated to reducing its dependence on Iranian oil, and they will find it much easier to completely eliminate their reliance on the nation when oil from Iranian Oil Replacement Zones enters the global marketplace. Unleashing this domestic production will simultaneously spur significant, much-needed economic growth in the U.S while enhancing our energy security.
Most importantly, enacting the Iran Sanctions Implementation Act of 2013 would cut off Iran's most important source of government revenue. By turning off this spigot, we would curtail Iran's ability to fund its nuclear program and influence rogue actors like Syria. Doing anything short of this will only serve the interests of our enemy.
If the president is serious about national security, he can no longer ignore the solutions available to him and to our nation right now, right here at home.
-Inhofe, a Republican, is Oklahoma's senior senator, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and senior member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.