The following is a statement from AIPAC President Howard Friedman and AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr, applauding the passage of H.R. 282.
"AIPAC applauds the overwhelming passage of H.R. 282, the Iran Freedom Support Act, a bipartisan bill that strengthens sanctions against investment in Iran to choke off funds that the Islamic republic could use to build nuclear weapons.
"Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons threatens the stability of the entire Middle East and could spark a dangerous nuclear arms race, exponentially increasing the proliferation danger haunting us all. The increasingly violent rhetoric of Iran's radical president - repeatedly calling for a world without America and for the destruction of Israel - is also reason for heightened concern. An Iran that possesses atomic weapons and the means to deliver them poses a clear national security threat to the U.S. and our allies, including Europe and Israel.
"This bill tightens existing sanctions against Iran, ensuring that companies are no longer able to skirt the system by investing in Iran's energy sector through off-shore subsidiaries. It urges divestment in companies investing in Iran, helping to ensure that American investors are able to make informed decisions about the companies they invest in, where they are doing business and the penalties that could be imposed as a result. It provides support to the growing pro-democracy movement in Iran, encouraging the efforts of those working to reform the Islamic Republic from within.
"Iran continues to defy the international community, announcing that it successfully enriched uranium only weeks after the United Nations Security Council unanimously demanded that it stop all enrichment activities. Today's vote sends a clear message that Congress understands the threat Iran poses to the United States and our allies and is willing to take concrete steps to slow Iran's nuclear pursuit.
"This bill passed 397-21, due in large part to the leadership of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Tom Lantos (D-CA) and the strong support of House leadership on both sides of the aisle. Similar legislation, also supported by AIPAC, is currently under consideration by the Senate."