South Carolina Congressman Jeff Duncan's legislation concerning the Iranian government's activities in the Western Hemisphere took a major step towards becoming law on Wednesday, when it passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee with strong bipartisan support. The legislation, which currently has 73 cosponsors, will now move to the House floor for a vote.
"Congress is recognizing the seriousness of the threat that Iran poses to both Americans here at home and to our allies in the Western Hemisphere. Iran's actions in our neighborhood represent a real threat to our safety and security. This bill provides a necessary first step to countering Iran's hostile presence right here at home," said Duncan.
Duncan's legislation seeks to:
· Establish a strong U.S. posture, policy, and relationship with Latin American countries
· Protect U.S. interests and assets in the Western Hemisphere such as embassies, consulates, businesses, energy pipelines, and cultural organizations, including threats to U.S. allies
· Address the vital national security interests of the United States by ensuring that energy supplies from the Western Hemisphere are free from the influence of any foreign government that would attempt to manipulate or disrupt global energy markets
· Require a secure U.S. border with the U.S. working in coordination with the Governments of Mexico and Canada to prevent Iranian operatives from entering the U.S.
· Counter efforts by foreign persons, entities, and governments in the region to assist Iran in evading U.S. and international sanctions
"With tensions building between Iran and the United States over their nuclear ambitions and erratic behavior, we have a responsibility to take steps now to guard against the very real threats that Iran could pose to Americans on U.S. soil," said Duncan. "We've seen evidence of Iranian activity through Hezbollah in countries throughout the hemisphere, including Mexico, Canada, and within the U.S."
"The United States must develop a common sense strategy to secure our borders and identify potential terrorist threats to the US homeland. That is exactly what I hope to accomplish with this legislation," Duncan concluded.