(BBI) B’nai B’rith International applauds the House of Representatives for passing the bipartisan Nuclear Iran Prevention Act on July 31 by an overwhelming majority. By reducing Iran’s oil exports and further shackling its economy, the bill would send an important signal to new Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani about the cost of continuing the country’s unswerving pursuit of nuclear weapons.
The legislation seeks to decrease Iranian oil exports from 1.25 million barrels per year to 250,000 barrels by the end of 2014. It would also expand the blacklist of Iran’s various economic sectors and further limit the country’s access to overseas foreign currency reserves. Sanctions against Iran have already drastically limited the country’s oil exports and severely hampered its economy.
B’nai B’rith calls on the Senate to expeditiously pass a companion bill. Any delay in the legislative process would only serve Iran’s dilatory purposes.
While a new president prepares to take office in Iran, Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei has shown no sign of slowing Iran’s nuclear development. Iran’s ongoing installation of advanced centrifuges has brought it nearer to weapons-grade uranium production, which is the linchpin for nuclear weapons capability.
Iran has consistently used negotiations to stall the international community. Diplomacy can succeed only if the United States and its allies broaden and strengthen the current sanctions framework against Iran.
Comments from Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) follow the jump.
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
The best response to Iran’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons capability is further isolation from the international community, which is threatened by this program,” said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow. “The sanctions legislation overwhelmingly passed yesterday sends a strong message to the Teheran regime that continues its involvement with global terror and its support for the brutal Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. We applaud the House action and will encourage expeditious passage of a parallel measure in the U.S. Senate.
Of course, sanctions are merely a means to an end, and we support the administration’s ongoing efforts to resolve this issue through diplomacy if possible,” said JCPA Chair Larry Gold. “While Iran’s new President-elect remains untested – and the posture of the Supreme Leader appears to remain unchanged – the U.S. and international community are well served by maintaining economic pressures. We hope that Iran’s leaders will choose the welfare of their people over this misguided and dangerous pursuit of nuclear weapons capability.
Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL)
I voted in favor of this critical new round of sanctions because we simply cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran. The overwhelming bipartisan support for this bill reaffirms Congress’ commitment to preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability. While the United States should continue to utilize and exhaust diplomatic channels, we must continue to implement and enforce crippling economic sanctions and reserve the right to use military force if necessary. Our policy is one of prevention, not containment, and I will continue to support legislation aimed to curbing Iran’s dangerous nuclear program.
Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA)
Today the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) and House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) in February 2013, passed the House of Representatives.
“Iran’s recent election of a so-called ‘moderate’ President has done nothing to change two important facts: Iran is still pursuing nuclear weapons capability, and the Supreme Leader is still the leader and decision-maker of Iran’s military and nuclear program,” said Congressman Sherman following the vote. “I am urging my Senate colleagues to pass this legislation and send it to the President for his signature.”
The Nuclear Iran Prevention Act expands current sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran for oil purchases and third party transfers of Iranian crude oil, which have sometimes allowed Iran to side-step sanctions.
On May 22, 2013, the House Foreign Affairs Committee marked up the new sanctions bill and passed it unanimously. Congressman Sherman contributed provisions through four amendments that were adopted unanimously that:
- Add the knowing transfer of uranium mining and milling equipment to Iran to current sanctions law.
Require a certification from prospective federal contractors that they (and affiliates) conduct no business with Iran that is sanctionable under this bill.
- Expand sanctions on individuals who transfer technology used to repress dissidents in Iran by imposing harsher sanctions beyond just government procurement contract prohibitions and expanding the scope of sanctions to include affiliates of these individuals.
- Strengthen current nonproliferation law under which the President must designate countries that allow a substantial diversion of certain sensitive goods, services, or technologies to Iran as “Destinations of Diversion Concern” (DDC) – and authorize harsher sanctions on such countries.
- “This bipartisan Iran sanctions bill will broaden economic sanctions, strengthen human rights sanctions, and increase oversight of the enforcement of current sanctions,” Sherman added.