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Senate Approves Tough Iran Sanctions

January 28, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

By a voice vote, the Senate this afternoon approved a comprehensive bill to put new, tougher economic sanctions on Iran. Since Iran has almost no oil refining capability and has to import at least 40 percent of its domestic gasoline supply, the most crippling sanctions in the bill would block any company that imports refined petroleum to Iran or works with Iran to build refineries from doing business in the U.S. market.

Read the bill and learn more about it here:

S. 2799 – Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act

Sen. Chris Dodd [D, CT], the bill’s main sponsor, provides this summary on his website:

Human Rights Abuses: Sense of Congress that the President should: press the Iranian Government to respect its citizens’ human rights and religious freedoms; identify Iranian officials responsible for violating these rights; and respond appropriately, including prohibiting their entry into the U.S. and freezing their assets. Also calls for additional funds for the Secretary of State to collect and share information on human rights abuses.

ISA Procurement Ban: Prohibits the U.S. government from purchasing goods from companies that are sanctionable under the Iran Sanctions Act.

Communications Procurement Ban (Schumer): Prohibits the U.S. government from contracting with companies that export sensitive communications jamming or monitoring technology to Iran, which allow the regime to restrict communications between Iranian citizens or between Iranians and the outside world – such as the oppressive activities that occurred during this summer’s protests over election abuses.

Assets Freeze: Strengthens and codifies into law the Treasury Department’s freeze on assets of Iranian officials and associates who support terrorism and proliferation activities.

Sanctions on Investments: Expands sanctions on foreign companies investing over $20 million in Iran’s oil and gas sector to certain financial institutions, foreign subsidiaries, insurers, export credit agencies, and others.

Subsidiaries: Requires U.S companies be sanctioned for the activities of their subsidiaries established specifically to circumvent sanctions if they invest over $20 million in Iran’s energy sector.

Refined Petroleum Sanctions (Bayh-Kyl-Lieberman): Requires the President sanction companies involved in exporting refined petroleum products to Iran or in developing oil refineries within Iran by restricting their foreign exchange transactions, access to U.S. banks, and acquisition, holding, or transfer of property in the U.S.

ISA Report: Requires the Administration to report to Congress a list of the companies that are sanctionable under the Iran Sanctions Act and whether or not sanctions will be applied.

Trade Ban: Codifies into law and strengthens the Treasury Department’s ban on trade with Iran, with exceptions for the export of food, medicine, humanitarian aid and the exchange of informational. materials

National Interest Waiver: The President can waive sanctions if he finds it is in the national interest of the United States, but must report to Congress describing the reasons for the waiver.

Counter-Terrorist Financing Resources: Authorizes funds for the Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Office (TFI) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) at the Treasury Department.

Divestment (Brownback-Casey): Authorizes states, local governments, and mutual funds to divest from firms investing in Iran’s energy sector, and protects private asset managers from lawsuits over fiduciary duties.

Black-Market Proliferation Networks: Requires the U.S. assist Iran’s trading partners in preventing the re-export of sensitive dual use technology to Iran via third countries and to subject these countries to significant restrictions on exports if they refuse U.S. assistance.

Sense of Congress: Includes a sense of Congress that the U.S. should continue to aggressively target Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah for sanctions and consider new sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank.
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