NEAR EAST REPORT AIPAC'S BIWEEKLY ON AMERICAN MIDDLE EAST POLICY

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House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Ranking Member Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) introduced the Iran Threat Reduction Act.

House Panel Moves New Iran Sanctions Forward

The House Foreign Affairs Committee recently approved by voice vote the Iran Threat Reduction Act (H.R. 1905) and the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (H.R. 2105). Committee Chairman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) said during the markup that the new legislation is “designed to clamp new and tougher sanctions on Iran’s energy sector, threatening the regime’s existence if it refuses to halt its nuclear weapons program.” Ros-Lehtinen continued, “We have wasted years and watched the threat develop, and now we must act before time runs out.”

The Iran Threat Reduction Act would for the first time codify that it is U.S. policy to prevent Iran from acquiring or developing nuclear weapons. If passed, the law would impose sanctions on U.S. companies whose foreign subsidiaries trade with Iran. The legislation would also sanction foreign firms that conduct any commercial or financial transactions with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including in the energy sector. The bill goes further to increase sanctions on firms dealing with Iran’s energy sector.

The panel’s ranking member, Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), proposed an amendment to sanction the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). The amendment, which was approved, requires the president to make a determination within 30 days of signing the bill into law whether the CBI is involved in sanctionable activity, and if so, to impose sanctions. “The Central Bank of Iran is widely suspected of financing Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, along with the nefarious activities of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps – and it’s time that the Bank, and those who work with it, are called to account,” said Berman.

The Iran Threat Reduction Act received bipartisan support. “We can no longer depend on incremental ratcheting of pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear ambition,” said Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ).

The final bill includes elements from several pieces of legislation relating to Iran. The bill includes many of the principal parts of the Stop Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Act, which was originally introduced by Reps. Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Ed Royce (R-CA). Sherman called the legislation “an important step” and said “we need to pass it into law as quickly as possible.”

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) had several provisions included in the legislation, among them a clause that would require companies to disclose certain business activities in or with Iran on their reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Deutch said, “We must seize this opportunity to tighten even further the economic noose on Iran before the regime makes its ultimate move towards weaponization.”

The legislation now heads to the House floor for full consideration. BACK TO TOP