Today, the House of Representatives passed two major sanctions bills targeting Iran for greater economic and diplomatic pressure, and strengthening the nonproliferation regime against Iran, North Korea, and Syria. Both bills, sponsored by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, included major provisions authored by Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade.
Last Spring, Congressman Sherman joined with Chairman Ros-Lehtinen and others in introducing both bills.
The House voted to pass the Iran Threat Reduction Act by a vote of 410 to 11. The House also voted to pass the Iran, North Korea Syria Nonproliferation Reform and Modernization Act by a vote of 418 to 2. Sherman is the lead Democratic sponsor of the latter bill.
"We have to create a circumstance where the regime in Tehran has to choose between its nuclear weapons program and regime survival," said Congressman Sherman.
The Iran Threat Reduction Act includes several important portions put forward by Congressman Sherman and which were originally included in the Stop Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program Act he first introduced in 2010:
* Requiring an expedited campaign at the Treasury Department to sanction the hundreds of front companies and agents that operate on behalf of the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and provides for tough sanctions against foreign companies that do business with them.
* Sanctioning the purchase or issuance of Iranian sovereign debt, including government bonds or bonds issued by a state-controlled firm.
* Effectively ending the "Halliburton loophole" by sanctioning parent companies for the activities of a foreign subsidiary that would violate current U.S. sanctions.
* Requiring the State Department to better define and publish the types of goods, services, and technologies that enable Iran to disrupt the flow of information and monitor and crush dissent in its population, and whose transfer to Iran will cause the company in question to be sanctioned by the U.S.
The Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Reform and Modernization Act improves existing law targeting firms and countries that assist these countries' nuclear and other advanced weapons programs. Sherman is the lead Democratic sponsor of this legislation.
"Iran, Syria, and North Korea continue to work together to threaten U.S. interests and allies around the globe," said Sherman. "A U.N. report in May of this year revealed that North Korea and Iran have been routinely sharing prohibited ballistic missile technology in breach of U.N. sanctions. This bill will provide our government with better tools to address this proliferation threat."
The bill includes provisions authored by Congressman Sherman that would provide for sanctions against firms that provide Iran, North Korea or Syria with equipment or technology relevant for mining or milling uranium. Iran is facing a uranium shortage, and has been searching for foreign sources of uranium, as well as trying to improve its domestic capability to mine uranium. Under the bill, anyone that assists in either effort would be subject to penalties.
This provision was first introduced by Sherman in 2009 in the International Uranium Extraction and Milling Control Act and was also in the Stop Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program Act he introduced in 2010.