Congresswoman Shelley Berkley is cosponsoring new legislation that would tighten restrictions on U.S. firms under the existing Iran Sanctions Act. The bill is needed to stop companies, including U.S. firms with overseas arms, from exploiting loopholes that have allowed them to do business with Iran in violation of existing prohibitions.
"We know U.S. firms with overseas operations and others are still finding ways to do business with Iran and it's time we get tough on those violating the Iran Sanctions Act. This law was designed to keep pressure on Iran as a way to discourage its nuclear weapons ambitions, but it cannot be an effective tool if those breaking the rules are never held accountable. The law must be enforced if it's going to be an effective economic and diplomatic tool against Iran," said Berkley.
The Iran Sanctions Enhancement Act, which was introduced by U.S. Representatives Ron Klein (FL) and Mark Kirk (IL), requires the President to complete investigations of violators within 45 days and to notify Congress of entities in violation of the Iran Sanctions Act. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) would also be required to publish a list of potential Sanctions Act violators every month.
Berkley has consistently warned that the U.S. cannot ignore the threat posed by Iran's drive to develop nuclear weapons and supports economic and trade sanctions as a means of pressure.
"A nuclear Iran poses as much of a threat to the U.S., Europe and the Middle East as it does to Israel. The effective use of sanctions can prevent having to look at utilizing a military option, but when the Iranian regime is unwilling to negotiate, no response can be taken off the table," Berkley said. "We want to show the Iranians that America and its allies will use every tool we have to stop them from obtaining a nuclear weapon," said Berkley. "But when companies can still do business even with sanctions in place, it's clear there needs to be more enforcement."
Berkley is also a cosponsor of The Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (H.R. 2194). The bill was approved overwhelmingly by the House with bipartisan support in December 2009. The bill includes further sanctions on Iran's banking sector and gives the President the power to impose sanctions against companies that supply Iran with -- or support its domestic production of -- gasoline and other refined petroleum products.