Senator Evan Bayh issued the following statement today after the Senate unanimously passed the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010:
"I applaud the unanimous passage of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010 by the United States Senate. These forceful and far-reaching sanctions add real teeth to our efforts and will significantly enhance the multilateral sanctions recently adopted by the U.N. Security Council and the European Union. Today the Senate sent a powerful and unambiguous message to the regime in Tehran that it will face serious consequences for its illicit nuclear program.
"This legislation contains key provisions from a bill I introduced last year that will empower the President to target the Iranian regime's Achilles' heel -- its reliance on imported gasoline and other refined petroleum products.
"I commend the administration for its commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, and I urge the president to make full use of the new tools that Congress has now provided. Neither the United States nor our allies can afford to take even a small risk that Iran might acquire and misuse a nuclear weapon."
Last spring, Senator Bayh -- together with Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) -- introduced the toughest economic sanctions legislation to date against the Iranian regime. This legislation, the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (S. 908), received the bipartisan support of 77 cosponsors in the Senate and was incorporated into the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act.
The Bayh-Lieberman-Kyl provisions will give President Obama expanded authority to impose severe economic penalties on foreign firms involved in the export of gasoline and other refined petroleum products to Iran. Iran currently lacks the refining capacity to meet domestic consumption and must import as much as 40 percent of its gasoline from abroad.
Earlier this year, Senator Bayh also helped introduce legislation that would impose targeted sanctions on members of the Iranian government responsible for human rights abuses. Provisions from this legislation are also included as part of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010.