Washington, DC – In an effort to keep pressure on Iran to end its pursuit of nuclear weapons, Congressman Howard L. Berman, Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, co-introduced new Iran sanctions legislation. H.R. 1905, the Iran Threat Reduction Act, would strengthen the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) and Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and Divestment Act (CISADA) by imposing an array of new penalties aimed at persuading Iran to change its conduct. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is the lead sponsor of this legislation, and additional cosponsors include Congressman Gary Ackerman, Congressman Dan Burton, Congressman Brad Sherman, Congressman Ed Royce, Congressman Ted Deutch, and Congressman Steve Chabot.
“We must use every economic tool available to force Iran to end its pursuit of nuclear weapons,” said Congressman Howard L. Berman. “As we await vigorous enforcement by the Obama Administration under CISADA, we must continually look ahead and examine additional means to pressure Iran, and that is exactly what this new legislation is intended to do.”
In response to building on the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps provisions in CISADA, the Ranking Member said, “The international community has recognized the unique distinction of the Iranian institution which not only is the leading influence in the development of their nuclear program but is one of the primary forces of the repression of the Iranian peoples. We must stay ahead of the curve and find ways to complement the sanctions which is the best course of action to persuade Iran to change its conduct”
Iran’s nuclear program is a fundamental threat to the United States, and to our friends and allies. It also makes a mockery of the global consensus on halting and reversing the spread of nuclear weapons. In response to this threat, Congressman Berman, while Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee authored Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and Divestment Act (CISADA). It broadly expanded the reach of the original Iran Sanctions Act, including sanctioning third-country companies and banks involved in activities such as sales of refined petroleum to Iran, assistance to Iran’s domestic refining capacity, and financial dealings with the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, the Iranian institution that is a leading force in both the development of the nuclear weapons program and the repression of the Iranian people. The overwhelming vote for CISADA – 408-8 in the House, 98 to nothing in the Senate – was a powerful demonstration of the bipartisan commitment to a tough approach to halting Iran’s nuclear program.
Even as CISADA is being implemented by the Obama Administration, it is clear that Iran continues to pursue a nuclear weapons capability. Last week’s report by the United Nations Security Council Panel of Experts on Iran confirm that Iran’s threat continues to grow, and while multilateral and unilateral sanctions are having some effect, Iran is finding ways to circumvent them. The UN panel calls for more vigorous enforcement of sanctions by the UN, the US, the EU, and other individual nations.
H.R. 1905, the Iran Threat Reduction Act, reinforces the provisions included in CISADA by targeting human rights abusers in Iran and business entities involved in energy transactions with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.