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This Day In Market History: Carter Blocks Iranian Oil Imports

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This Day In Market History: Carter Blocks Iranian Oil Imports

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened

On Nov. 12, 1979, President Jimmy Carter halted Iranian petroleum imports in the name of national security.

Where The Market Was

The S&P 500 traded at $103.51, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average traded around $2,735.14.

What Else Was Going On In The World

Earlier that month, the U.S. had lent Chrysler $1.5 billion, and a Liberian crude oil tanker spilled about 10.7 million gallons off the coast of Texas.

Carter Cuts Iranian Oil Imports

On Nov. 4, Iranians loyal to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized the U.S. embassy and 66 American hostages for the first of 444 days. Fearful that the radical Islamic group would soon target American oil tankers or refineries, Carter determined to discontinue imports from the region.

The trade decision followed a decade of instability in oil trade. A year earlier, a labor strike among Iranian oil workers crippled the global supply, and six years earlier, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries cut off oil exports to Israel’s allies in the Yom Kippur War.

Additionally, the arrangement effectively ended friendly diplomatic relations cultivated through the nation’s former shah. Previously, Iran and the U.S. had collaborated to broker peace between Israel and Egypt, discuss nuclear non-proliferation with the Soviet Union, and encourage oil conservation and alternative energy use.

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