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New Bipartisan Iran Sanctions Legislation Introduced in the US Congress

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Wednesday, 18 May 2011 09:33

As we enter the summer period of the Congressional session, it appears that Iran sanctions will once again be on the menu. This particular measure will be of interest to the energy and financial services sector that may have dealings with Iran.

The bill - HR 1905 - was introduced last week without much fanfare by the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; however, we expect it will receive a great deal of attention in both chambers. A companion Senate measure will be introduced in the near future.

HR 1905 appears to build upon the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA), which was signed into law by President Obama in July 2010, and which strengthened and expanded U.S. sanctions against Iran. According to a press release issued by the Committee: 

"U.S. policy towards Iran has offered a lot of bark, but not enough bite. This new bipartisan legislation would bring to bear the full weight of the U.S. by seeking to close the loopholes in existing energy and financial sanctions laws, while increasing the type and number of sanctions to be imposed.

"Given the grave nature of the Iranian threat, it is my hope that my colleagues will support further strengthening the bill as it moves through the legislative process and not fall into the trap of enabling the Executive Branch to ignore U.S. law. Failing to move expeditiously to close these loopholes, and allowing the continued failure of successive administrations to vigorously enforce the sanctions currently on the books, strengthens Iran while leaving the U.S. and our allies more vulnerable."

H.R. 1905, the Iran Threat Reduction Act (ITRA), closes loopholes in both energy and financial sanctions and counters the Iranian regime's efforts to evade them.

The bill eliminates some waivers, resulting in a mandate to impose sanctions on those who provide the Iranian regime with the materials, technologies, and other assistance to pursue its nuclear, chemical, biological, and missile programs.

The bill also creates a new higher standard for waiver of energy sanctions by requiring the President, before waiving, to notify Congress and certify that failure to waive would pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security interests of the U.S.

HR 1905 is available for download here.


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