Both the House and Senate on August 1 overwhelmingly passed the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (H.R. 1905), which would enshrine in law that it is U.S. policy to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, escalate the level of sanctions against the regime’s human rights violators, and sharply tighten the enforcement of existing sanctions law. The House passed the measure by a vote of 421-6, while the Senate approved the bill by unanimous consent. President Obama signed the bill into law on August 10.
The measure is based on legislation already overwhelmingly passed by the House and Senate. The legislation was spearheaded by in the House by Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Ranking Member Howard Berman (D-CA) and in the Senate by Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL).
What is in the bill?
• It subjects virtually all of Iran’s energy, financial and transportation sectors to U.S. sanctions.
• Companies conducting business in these industries would face a choice between continuing to do business with Iran and losing access to the United States.
• The bill expands the sanctions against those who are aiding the human rights abuses in Syria.
• Sanctions are mandated on anyone providing Iran goods, services and/or technology that would contribute materially to the ability of Tehran to acquire or develop chemical, biological or nuclear weapons as well as destabilizing numbers and types of advanced conventional weapons.
• U.S. persons are prohibited from virtually all transactions related to Iran with certain exceptions, notably for food, medicine and informational materials.