Congress Tightens and Extends U.S. Sanctions Against Iran

AIPAC President Howard Friedman and Executive Director Howard Kohr released the following statement regarding the passage of H. R. 6198.

"AIPAC applauds today's unanimous House passage of the Iran Freedom Support Act (IFSA), legislation that strengthens and renews critical U.S. sanctions against Iran aimed at choking off funds that would aid the Islamic Republic in its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

"Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons threatens to further destabilize the entire Middle East and could spark a dangerous nuclear arms race among Arab nations. An Iran that possesses atomic weapons and the means to deliver them poses a clear national security threat to the United States and our allies, including Europe, Israel and moderate Arab states.

"The passage of IFSA is an important step in further isolating the radical regime in Tehran, and represents a unified American commitment from both the Administration and Congress toward ensuring that Iran does not obtain the world's most dangerous weapons.

"Approved today by voice vote, the Iran Freedom Support Act extends for five more years U.S. sanctions mandated under the Iran Libya Sanctions Act, set to expire September 29th, and codifies into U.S. law sanctions previously imposed only under executive order, including preventing American companies from doing business in or with Iran.

"Significantly, IFSA also makes mandatory the imposition of sanctions on companies assisting Iran's programs to acquire weapons of mass destruction or destabilizing conventional weapons, and provides the Treasury Department new financial sanctions tools to act against banks tied to proliferation programs. The bill also calls for the U.S. not to enter in into nuclear cooperation agreements with nations cooperating with Iran's nuclear program. The bill also authorizes American support for Iranians seeking a civil society and transition to democracy.

"IFSA's passage comes at a time when Iran continues to flout international standards of conduct and violate its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. If Tehran continues to refuse U.N. demands to end its nuclear enrichment activities, the U.N. Security Council must move toward implementing strong international diplomatic and economic sanctions against Iran.

"AIPAC commends the efforts of the bill's principal sponsors, Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Tom Lantos (D-CA), Henry Hyde (R-IL), and Gary Ackerman (D-NY) for their efforts to secure IFSA's passage at this critical time. The bill is now under consideration by the Senate and we urge its immediate passage."