Berman: “These provisions are very important, but the Iranians should not be fooled into thinking that this is the last word on sanctions – far from it.”
Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Howard L. Berman, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and co-author of legislation strengthening Iran sanctions delivered the following remarks, as prepared for delivery. Berman was the Democratic manager during the debate on this bill in Congress today.
“Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.Res. 750 and yield myself 3 minutes.
The bill before us today marks a significant step forward in our sanctions effort against the Iranian regime and its illicit nuclear program, which even Tehran acknowledges is already having a stressful impact on Iran’s economy. I commend my colleague, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, for her work on this legislation and I’m proud to be the bill’s chief co-sponsor in the House.
Building on previous sanctions, this bill adds to what the gentlelady and I set out to do when we introduced it. For example, through further limiting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran, an initiative I originated, this legislation restricts Iran’s ability to repatriate the revenue it receives from its diminishing oil sales. It includes provisions that clamp down on Iran’s oil exports by targeting the National Iranian Oil Company and the National Iranian Tanker Company, and it expands sanctions on Iranian shipping, insurance, and financing in the energy sector.
This also bill increases sanctions on transactions with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps -- the IRGC -- the spearhead of Iran’s nuclear proliferation and terrorism efforts and the dominant player in the Iranian economy.
Furthermore, at my suggestion this bill now includes a measure that expands CISADA sanctions beyond financial institutions to include more than 200 additional individuals and companies that have been linked to Iran’s weapons of mass destruction or terrorism programs. I ask unanimous consent to submit an illustrative list from Treasury into the record.
And of critical importance, this bill vastly strengthens sanctions on both Iranian and Syrian human rights abusers.
These provisions are very important -- but the Iranians should not be fooled into thinking that this is the last word on sanctions. Far from it.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, I want to call on the Administration to implement the authorities we have given them, fully and without delay. Iran’s nuclear clock is ticking, and time is not on our side. The actions the Executive Branch took yesterday – including the first-ever CISADA sanctions on foreign banks, more than two years after CISADA became law – are a good beginning, but Iran’s nuclear weapons program continues apace. Every day, it is enriching more uranium and at higher levels.
The only hope we have for a peaceful solution is to apply enough pressure to ensure Iran ends its nuclear weapons program. The bill before us and the action the Administration has taken applies significantly more pressure, but let there be no doubt: there is more that we can do and more that we will do if Iran doesn’t end its nuclear weapons program verifiably and completely. We have more work to do.”