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Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


IRAN COUNTER-PROLIFERATION ACT OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - September 25, 2007)

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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, today is a day of contrast. Today as we stand here in this hallowed Chamber of democracy discussing the threat that Iran poses to the United States and, indeed, to global security, to its own people as well, Iran's leader will later be spewing his venomous rhetoric before the United Nations General Assembly.

Last year, the leader of the Iranian regime called for Israel to be wiped off the map and for a new wave of Palestinian attacks to destroy the Jewish state. He further stated that anyone who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the fury of Islamic nations.

This is not the first time that the Iranian leadership has called for the destruction of Israel. On December 14, 2001, former Iranian leader Rafsanjani threatened Israel with nuclear attack, saying that the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel would destroy that country while it would do little harm to the Islamic world.

Given the Iranian regime's history of acting on its declarations, we should be under no illusions regarding its intentions. And its intentions are to get a nuclear weapon. In fact, they are even taking out advertisements about it.

[Page: H10768]

Let me show you this very revealing ad that appeared in the May issue of the Economist. As they say, ``a picture is worth a thousand words.'' Even as the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that ``gaps remain in the agency's knowledge with respect to the scope and content of Iran's centrifuge program ..... including the role of the military in Iran's nuclear program .....'' and voiced concern regarding ``undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran,'' and even as additional sanctions were being considered against Iran by the United Nations Security Council, this request for proposals for two new large nuclear plants appeared in a major western magazine. And let me point out that the ad clearly identifies the name of the bank, a European bank. For the record, it is Austria Bank Creditansalt, with the account number clearly evident in the advertisement.

Mr. Speaker, for over 5 years, Iran has been manipulating the international community, buying time to expand and to hide its nuclear program, and it is making rapid progress. The International Atomic Energy Agency report of August 30 of this year stated that Iran is running almost 2,000 centrifuges with as many more being tested or under construction, indicating that it has already overcome many of the roadblocks to manufacturing nuclear fuel, including weapons-grade material.

The estimate of the International Atomic Energy Agency, however, may be too conservative. Iranian leader Ahmadinejad put the number of centrifuges at 3,000 and said that the program was making great strides. His comments underscored his regime's intense focus on its nuclear weapons program and should increase our focus and our sense of urgency.

[Time: 10:45]

When thinking of the consequences of an Iranian nuclear bomb, we must always remember that Iran is the number one state sponsor of terrorism, supplying weapons, funding, training and sanctuary to terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas that have murdered countless civilians and threatens our allies in the region and elsewhere; that Iran continues to supply Shiite Islamic groups in Iraq with money, training and weapons that fuel sectarian violence; that Iran is responsible for the deaths of U.S. troops by providing the resources and the materials used for improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, and other much more powerful weapons; that Iran is also supplying the Taliban with weapons to use against our troops serving in Afghanistan.

My daughter-in-law is proudly wearing our Nation's uniform right now in Afghanistan, and Iran's work is a danger to her and all of our sons and daughters serving overseas.

However, Tehran's pursuit of these destructive policies has one weakness, namely, its dependence on the revenue derived from energy exports. For that reason, the U.S. has targeted Iran's energy sector, attempting to starve it of its foreign investment. U.S. law prohibits American firms from investing in Iran, but foreign entities continue to do so. To address that problem, my distinguished colleague, my good friend from California, the chairman of our committee, Mr. Lantos, and I introduced the Iran Freedom Support Act, which was enacted into law in September of last year.

This legislation under consideration today, however, H.R. 1400, builds upon that foundation, reiterates the application of the Iran Sanctions Act, ISA, to parent companies of foreign subsidiaries that engage in activities that ISA would prohibit for U.S. entities. Like its predecessors, the Iraq Freedom Support Act and H.R. 957, this bill before us, H.R. 1400, expands the application of the Iran Sanctions Act to any financial institution, insurer, underwriter, guarantor, or other business organization including any foreign subsidiary of the foregoing. Mr. Speaker, this bill enlarges the scope of the ISA sanctions to include the sale of oil or liquefied natural gas tankers.

In addition, the bill before us states the sense of Congress that the United States should prevent foreign banks from providing export credits to foreign entities seeking to invest in Iran's energy sector. And in line with the Iran Freedom Support Act, which urged the President to instruct the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. to push for United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran, this bill before us commends the U.N. Security Council for its previous action and urges additional action.

H.R. 1400 also restricts U.S. nuclear cooperation with any country that helps Iran's nuclear program or transfers advanced conventional weapons or missiles to Iran. This puts countries seeking to maintain good relations with the U.S. on notice that we will not allow ourselves to be used as indirect purveyors of nuclear assistance to Iran.

Finally, let me emphasize, Mr. Speaker, that this bill speaks directly to the people of Iran. The regime in Tehran continues its brutal crackdown on human rights advocates, on religious and ethnic minorities, on opponents in the universities and the press, and on dissidents in general. And to address their plight, the bill before us expresses the unwavering support of the American people for the tens of millions of Iranians suffering under a brutal medieval regime.

We must always remember that we share a common enemy, the regime in Tehran, and a common goal, which is freedom.

Mr. Speaker, thank you for this time. But I mostly want to thank the chairman of our committee, Mr. Lantos, for his leadership on this issue, and I strongly urge my colleagues to support its adoption.

And with that, Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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