Senators introduce legislation to impose sanctions on the Government of Iran
WASHINGTON D.C. â€“ As the Government of Iran continues to defy United Nations Security Council orders to halt its nuclear enrichment activities, sponsor terrorism, disregard human rights by targeting Iranian dissidents worldwide and partner with North Korea on missile and nuclear technology, U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) introduced the Iran Export Embargo Act to impose sanctions on the Government of Iran.
The Iran Export Embargo Act would expand existing U.S. sanctions law by prohibiting the purchase or transfer of goods and services from any entity owned or controlled by the Government of Iran and banning all transactions on behalf of such entities for the purpose of exports from Iran. The bill would block all assets of entities deemed to be Government of Iran and also prohibit any insurance or reinsurance for such entities. A copy of the bill can be found here.
â€œItâ€™s time to send a clear message to all nations of the world â€“ there is no such thing as legitimate trade with the Government of Iran,â€ Senator Kirk said. â€œMoney is fungible and any funds deposited into the Iranian Governmentâ€™s coffers help subsidize its rogue nuclear program, illicit proliferation networks and unprecedented human rights abuses. We owe it to the American people to exhaust all available options before the diplomatic clock runs out.â€
â€œPut simply, countries and companies around the world will be forced to choose â€“ stop doing business with the government of Iran or stop doing business in the United States of America,â€ Senator Cornyn said.
The Export Embargo Act has already garnered the support of 17 U.S. Senators, including: Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), James Risch (R-Ind.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), David Vitter (R-La.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).
In May, Kirk and Cornyn, along with Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Susan Collins (R-Me.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) introduced bipartisan legislation, entitled the Iran Sanctions Loophole Elimination Act, to block Iranâ€™s access to billions of dollars worth of foreign exchange reserves and limit the ability of designated Iranian entities like the Central Bank of Iran and the National Iranian Oil Company to conduct transactions in foreign currencies, including euros. That legislation is expected to be incorporated into a House companion bill at a Foreign Affairs Committee markup tomorrow. Iranâ€™s ability to access its foreign exchange reserves remains one of the largest loopholes in Iran sanctions policy. More information about the Iran Sanctions Loophole Elimination Act can be found here.
In 2011, Senator Kirk co-authored the Menendez-Kirk amendment, which imposed sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran and led to unprecedented economic pressure inside Iran. In 2012, Kirk authored an amendment to impose sanctions on the financial messaging providers servicing designated Iranian banks, which ultimately led the European Union to order the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) to disconnect such banks. In December 2012, the Senator again co-authored a Menendez-Kirk amendment to the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act, which blacklisted whole sectors of the Iranian economy and prohibited the sale or delivery of raw, semi-finished and precious metals to Iran.