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U.S. Senate Approves Stronger Iran Sanctions

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Tuesday, 22 May 2012 09:31

By a voice vote yesterday evening, the United States Senate unanimously approved the Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Human Rights Act of 2012. A similar measure was approved late last year in the House of Representatives, the Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011.

This new set of sanctions primarily would target Iran's energy sector and is principally aimed at closing a loophole in current law that allows the Iranians to sell oil using their existing shipping fleet. If determined by the Obama Administration that certain Iranian entities have ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the sanctions would prohibit dealing with companies such as the National Iranian Oil Co and National Iranian Tanker Company.

The principal co-sponsors of the Senate bill, Senator Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) and Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) issued statements late yesterday evening:

"Today the Senate sent a clear message to Iran as it prepares for the P-5+1 talks in Baghdad: Provide a real and verifiable plan for the complete dismantling of your nuclear weapons program, or Washington will further tighten the economic noose ... The Obama Administration is moving toward full implementation of the Menendez-Kirk Central Bank sanctions and the U.S. Congress is ready with additional measures," Sen. Menendez said.

"Today the U.S. Senate put Iranian leaders on notice that they must halt all uranium enrichment activities or face another round of economic sanctions from the United States," Senator Kirk said. "I thank Leader McConnell and Senator Menendez for their support in moving this important legislation forward, and I appreciate Leader Reid and Chairman Johnson's commitment to negotiate even tougher sanctions in conference," Sen. Kirk said.

Other measures include new sanctions with respect to joint ventures with the Government of Iran relating to mining, production, or transportation of uranium as well as new liability of parent companies for violations of sanctions by foreign subsidiaries. There are also new disclosure requirements to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) relating to sanctionable activities.

The bill will allow for the attachment frozen assets of Iran to pay judgments for Iranian acts of terror against American citizens, including the victims of the Marine Corps Barracks bombing in Lebanon in 1983 and the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia in 1996.

The complete text of the Senate bill (S 2101) is available here (PDF). The House measure (HR 1905) is available here (PDF).




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