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Public Statements

Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SHERMAN. I thank the gentleman for his generous grant of time, especially because he will probably disagree with almost everything I have to say.

I'd like to thank Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for bringing together the best ideas of so many Members--and, of course, of her own--to move toward another important step toward dissuading Iran from developing nuclear weapons and for her ability to build a coalition that has over 300 Members cosponsoring this bill.

We have to create circumstances where the regime in Tehran has to choose between its nuclear weapons program and regime survival. We owe a special debt of gratitude to the mullahs who are running Iran, because it is their incompetence and their corruption that creates a risk to regime survival even at a time of very high oil prices. And we owe a debt of gratitude to the Iranian people, who rose upon against this regime in the summer of 2009 and whose desire for freedom poses a real threat to regime survival.

Looking at the particulars of this bill, I want to thank the chairwoman for including in this bill, in title III, provisions dealing with the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps. These are based on the Revolutionary Guard Corps Designation Implementation Act, which I introduced in 2009 along with the chairwoman, Ed Royce, and Dan Burton. This title III makes it clear to foreign companies that, if they do business with the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps, they cannot do business in the United States.

I also want to thank the chairwoman for cosponsoring, both last year and this year, my bill, the Stop Iran's Nuclear Program Act, and for including many of those provisions in this legislation that's before us today, in particular, including a provision that would sanction those companies that loan money to Iran, whether in dollars or in euros or in any other currency, that tell the foreign incorporated subsidiaries of U.S. multinational corporations that they, too, cannot do business with Iran.

To build upon the provision that Chuck Schumer and I were able to write and was included in CISADA, which was adopted last year, to indicate that those who give Iran the technologies to suppress the Internet and to apprehend dissidents through the Internet will be sanctioned. Companies should not be providing that kind of technology to Iran. Now, this bill would require the State Department to actually implement those provisions by designating the technologies that cannot be sold to Iran.

This bill also includes the provision of the Stop Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program Act that allows States to do even more to help this Federal policy, by providing that those insurance companies that are helping Iran may not be able to do business in their particular State.

Finally, I want to point out that this bill includes provisions aimed at the Central Bank of Iran, but that is not a reason for us not to also pass the Menendez-Kirk language that's in the Defense authorization bill.

The Menendez-Kirk language would, like this bill, sanction those U.S. banks that violate our law by doing business with Iran and would freeze those assets that the Central Bank of Iran has foolishly left in the United States or may have done so. But the key thing about the Kirk-Menendez language is that it tells European and Asian and other non-U.S. banks that they must stop their business with the Central Bank of Iran and virtually all the major banks of Iran as well. It imposes secondary sanctions. And I believe the Kirk-Menendez language will make it difficult for Iran to sell oil or to buy anything with its oil revenue.

I urge the passage of this bill, the Kirk-Menendez language, and other sanctions against Iran.

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