or Login to see your representatives.

Access Candidates' and Representatives' Biographies, Voting Records, Interest Group Ratings, Issue Positions, Public Statements, and Campaign Finances

Simply enter your zip code above to get to all of your candidates and representatives, or enter a name. Then, just click on the person you are interested in, and you can navigate to the categories of information we track for them.

Public Statements

Letter to Chairman Levin, Ranking Member McCain, Chairman McKeon, and Ranking Member Smith

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown

Rep. Howard Berman, Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today sent a letter to the conferees for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 proposing the accelerated implementation of petroleum-related sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran contained in the Menendez-Kirk amendment.

Full text of Rep. Berman's letter is below:

December 7, 2011

The Honorable Carl Levin
Chairman
Senate Armed Services Committee
228 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable John McCain
Ranking Member
Senate Armed Services Committee
228 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Buck McKeon
Chairman
House Armed Services Committee
2120 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Adam Smith
Ranking Member
House Armed Services Committee
2120 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Levin, Ranking Member McCain, Chairman McKeon, and Ranking Member Smith:

I am writing to propose that the time-frame for imposition of petroleum-related sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran, as contained in the Menendez-Kirk amendment, be reduced to 120 days, rather than 180 days, after enactment.

In early November, I offered an amendment to H.R. 1905, the Iran Threat Reduction Act, which would impose crippling sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran 30 days after enactment. My amendment enjoyed unanimous support from Republicans and Democrats on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The Menendez-Kirk amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 is a good amendment that would also impose sanctions on the Central Bank, and it has the advantage of being in a bill that will be enacted sooner than H.R. 1905. Some of my colleagues believe we should simply recede to the Senate on this provision, but I do not. I am concerned, because this amendment would delay sanctions on petroleum transactions for 180 days -- half a year -- after enactment.

I think we need to act sooner. Why? Because waiting a full six months to penalize the Central Bank for transactions that produce most of Iran's revenue may enable the regime to cross a key threshold in acquiring a nuclear-weapons capability. Iran could continue to harden its underground uranium-enrichment facility at Qom and fortify the rest of its existing infrastructure without the impediment, and the disincentive, of powerful sanctions on its Central Bank. And some experts have said that six months is exactly the time-frame Iran needs to make those facilities fully impervious to conventional military action.

I do not advocate use of military force, but I do consider the threat of military action, in combination with sanctions, a critical element of our strategy for persuading Iran to halt its nuclear program. Most important, keeping the military option on the table is an ongoing warning to Iran about the consequences of its defiance of the international community. But the threat of military attack is also a useful inducement to other states to cooperate with our sanctions regime: Our friends and allies, such as Canada and Western Europe, genuinely oppose Iran's nuclear quest and generally join our sanctions regime on principle, but China and other like-minded countries are solely motivated by their bottom line, which could be threatened by regional instability and disruptions in the world oil market. Our strongest talking point in urging China and the like to cooperate with sanctions is this: If sanctions fail, military action -- destabilizing the region and sending oil prices through the roof -- could well follow. If we lose the military option, we lose the force of that argument. So, the only way to convince Iran to halt its nuclear activity before crossing this threshold is to impose tough sanctions on the Central Bank sooner rather than later.

I therefore propose that the Menendez-Kirk amendment be modified so that sanctions on petroleum transactions go into effect 120 days after enactment, instead of 180 days, as it stands now. This is a reasonable compromise between the 30-day time-frame contained in the amendment I offered on the Central Bank and the 180 days proposed by Menendez and Kirk.

Reducing the time frame to 120 days will still allow the President time to build an international coalition to support sanctions against the Central Bank and to address any disruptions to the world oil market. But it more accurately reflects the extreme urgency of the situation we now face.

This legislation -- together with the Iran Threat Reduction Act, which the House will soon consider -- may well be the last chance to force the Iranian government to end its nuclear weapons program. We must not delay its implementation. I urge my colleagues to adopt my proposal to strengthen the effectiveness of this legislation.

I know the Administration has many concerns regarding this issue, but I urge Conferees to adopt my proposal and resist entreaties to do otherwise.

Sincerely,

HOWARD L. BERMAN
Ranking Member


Source:
Back to top