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Congress Moving on Tough Iran Sanctions Bill

June 23, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

With everything going on right now, you probably haven’t heard that Congress is getting very close to passing tough new economic sanctions on Iran. The sanctions bill, known as the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010", passed both chambers earlier this year with wide bipartisan margins (unanimously in the Senate) and the conference report is on the House schedule for possible consideration later this week.

Laura Grossman at Frum Forum says the conference report came back from committee even tougher than the either of the versions that went in:

This new bipartisan legislation builds upon the 1996 Iran Sanctions Act.  It has even more bite than the versions passed by the House (December 2009) and Senate (January 2010). Indeed, the president is empowered to impose sanctions on businesses that either supply Iran with refined petroleum or help the Islamic Republic produce it. The sanctions also include companies that supply Iran with technology, goods, services and information to its energy sector.  The impact of this could be enormous. Iran currently imports as much as 30 percent of its gasoline, despite its massive oil wealth, simply because the regime lacks the technology to refine its own gasoline.

The new bill explicitly forbids the federal government from granting contracts to companies that export sensitive technology to Iran. It also targets foreign financial institutions that do business with key Iranian banks, as well as the notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a designated terrorist group.  Specifically, the legislation gives the Secretary of the Treasury the power to severely restrict these institutions from accessing the American financial market. These institutions will not have to make a choice. They can either keep working with Iran, or work with America.  They can’t have it both ways.

Responding to the Iranian regime’s gross human rights abuses in the aftermath of the rigged June 12, 2009 elections, the legislation empowers the president to impose sanctions against the individuals responsible for those atrocities.

The conference report needs to be approved once again by both the Senate and the House before it can be sent to Obama to get signed into law. It could all happen very quickly at this point.

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