Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's country is missing out on some $133 million a day as much of the globe shuns its oil, and Barack Obama is making bank on it. As Bloomberg reports, the US-led embargo on Tehran's oil has proven devastatingly effective since it began July 1, dropping the Iranians' exports by 52%—the equivalent of $48 billion a year, or 10% of Iran's economy. The silver lining for the rest of the world is that increased Saudi and US production have combined with waning demand to actually decrease the cost of crude by 0.7%, against experts' worst fears. That's an election-year victory Obama can tout, notes Bloomberg.
“It’s been an unqualified success,” says one expert. "In the end the US and Europeans got their cake and they ate it too, because volumes are down and prices are down." More cruddy news for Tehran: The US Congress can apparently agree on nothing save making Iran's life as miserable as possible, and yesterday passed increased sanctions "to tighten the chokehold on the regime." Aimed at punishing banks, shipping companies, and insurers that help Iran peddle its oil, Reuters notes that the bill was unanimous in the Senate, and passed the House 421-6.