U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said today that Congress will take the necessary steps to offset the Administration's failings and pass tough new U.S. sanctions laws to force the Iranian regime to abandon its nuclear pursuits. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"Rather than placing Iran on life-support, the Administration needs to be willing to pull the plug. It is deeply disappointing that the Administration has provided free passes to what the Wall Street Journal referred to as Iran's 20 major trading partners. The Administration's actions allow companies in these countries to continue to do business with Iran. If we're not willing to sanction Iran's biggest partners, who are we willing to sanction?
"As a result, the regime in Tehran has more breathing room to continue its nefarious activities, and the deterrent effect of our sanctions is weakened.
"While our current sanctions are having a positive impact, the Administration should be working to make them even stronger. Only when economic pressure on Iran is maximized will the regime be forced to abandon its destructive activities.
"Congress will again have to lead where successive Administrations have failed."
BACKGROUND: The countries which have received exemptions from sanctions are: China, India, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Taiwan, Belgium, Britain, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain.
NOTE: Ros-Lehtinen is the author of H.R. 1905, the Iran Threat Reduction Act, which strengthens U.S. sanctions against Iran in order to compel Tehran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons and other threatening activities. The bill overwhelmingly passed the House in December 2011. On May 21, the Senate passed a version of this legislation.