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Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Reform and Modernization Act of 2011

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SHERMAN. I thank the gentleman from Ohio for his generosity, especially because he will probably disagree with most of what I have to say.

As to the consistency of America's nonproliferation policy, I believe we are consistent. We are consistent with the nonproliferation treaty, which I believe is the most important peace treaty of our lifetime. It identifies five states as nuclear states. Three major nations in this world did not sign and do not benefit from the treaty. But Iran, North Korea, and Syria all agreed, as non-nuclear states, agreed not to develop nuclear weapons, and all of them have violated that agreement.

I want to commend Chairman Ros-Lehtinen for putting forward this outstanding bill, one of the toughest nonproliferation bills ever to come before Congress. I am the lead Democratic cosponsor of this bill, and I want to thank her for the opportunity to work with her on this important legislation.

Iran, Syria, and North Korea are proliferators of nuclear weapons technology, and work together to threaten U.S. interests and allies around the globe.

This bill includes an important provision that I put forward in a bill that I introduced in May of 2009. That

is, it poses sanctions against those firms that provide North Korea, Iran, or Syria with equipment or technology relevant to mining or milling uranium. Iran in particular is facing a uranium shortage, and has been searching for foreign sources of uranium as well as trying to improve its own domestic capacity to mine uranium. Under this bill, anyone who assists that effort would be subject to penalties.

This bill includes other very important provisions. The U.S.-China Economic Security Review Commission identified a loophole in current law that arguably exempts from sanctions Chinese companies that are providing short-range, anti-naval cruise missiles to Iran. I think it is critically important that we protect our naval crews, especially when Iran has recently conducted exercises to game the possibility of shutting the Strait of Hormuz, which is so critical to world oil supplies. We need to do everything we can in this Congress to protect our naval crews from Iranian weapons acquired from China.

Also, following on the shipping sanctions that have been put into place against Iranian shipping firms, this bill would go further. It effectively bars from any U.S. port any ship that has visited North Korea, Iran, or Syria in the last 2 years.

The bill would also close a loophole in existing sanctions. It would require that sanctions be imposed on the parent entity when one of its subsidiaries engages in sanctionable activity.

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