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Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. GARRETT. Mr. Speaker, last year, when we passed the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions and Divestment Act, I came to the floor stating that we must go further. Our stated goal then, as it is now, was to protect Americans, our allies, and the Iranians who suffer under a tyrannical regime. We have made it clear that it is unacceptable for Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

While a step in the right direction, last year's version of Iran Sanctions gave too much flexibility to the administration and included vast loopholes that weakened the law's effectiveness. As I speak now, the Obama administration has only applied sanctions to ten foreign companies and has given leeway to companies operating in Iran. Iran has continued development of nuclear weapons and poses an even greater threat to America and her allies.

Today's bill, H.R. 1905, the Iran Threat Reduction Act, takes the threat of Iran's nuclear program seriously. This legislation would mandate sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran. It would also impose sanctions on foreign banks that continue to do business with the Iranian Central Bank. Just last week the Senate unanimously supported sanctioning the Iranian Central Bank. As the House and Senate are deeply divided on other major issues, we all believe that Iran is a threat that must be dealt with swiftly and that the Central Bank must be sanctioned. H.R. 1905 also would reassert that it is U.S. policy to ensure Iran does not obtain the ability to produce nuclear weapons. Finally, the bill would close the loophole in current U.S. law that allows foreign subsidiaries of U.S. corporations to bypass U.S. sanctions.

Will this legislation single-handedly prevent a nuclear Iran from emerging? Likely it will not. We may have waited too long for our actions today to single-handedly dismantle Iran's nuclear ambitions. However, with this legislation, allies are already indicating they will follow our lead and potentially sanction the Iranian Central Bank as well. As we show the rest of the world we take this threat seriously, they will too. I urge my colleagues to support this measure.

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