Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:  Chris Smith
Date: Aug. 1, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of the House amendment to the previous Senate amendment to H.R. 1905. In his 2002 State of the Union Address, former President George H.W. Bush said that Iran was pursuing weapons of mass destruction and exporting terror. A decade later, Iran's global threat is greater than ever.

We are currently embroiled in a standoff with Iran over its pursuit of nuclear capability. We find ourselves on the brink of conflict over potential Iranian armed interference with oil and other shipments through the Strait of Hormuz and its persistent threats against Israel. Even prior to 9-11, Hezbollah, supported by Iran, was responsible for more American deaths around the world than any other terrorist organization. Since 2001, Iran has embarked on more direct efforts to harm American interests as evidenced by last year's foiled Iranian-backed assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

The current state of Iranian sanctions clearly has not worked to reduce Tehran's threat to global peace. That's why we need the enhanced approach this legislation will take in countering efforts by Iran to evade the impact of international sanctions. H.R. 1905 as amended tightens reporting on countries violating sanctions on these countries and strengthens measures against those who would aid and abet these disturbers of global peace.

It also effectively blacklists Iran's energy sector and anyone doing business with it. By preventing Iran from repatriating the proceeds from its oil sales, this rogue government will be deprived of 80 percent of its hard currency earning and half of the funds used to support its national budget.

Iran has used many tricks to subvert current sanctions--from oil for gold swaps to selling energy bonds to other trading and bartering schemes. They have been successful because there are governments who care more for making profit from doing business in Iran than in preventing threats to world peace. International efforts to rein in the nuclear ambitions of Iran have been stymied particularly by China.

Despite expressing formal support for United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran since 2005, China has stepped in where other nations have curtailed trade with Iran. China's Bank of Kunlun and the Elaf Islamic Bank in Iraq have facilitated transactions worth millions of dollars for Iranian banks already under sanctions. Stronger sanctions will make such unsavory alliances more difficult. This is why the reformulated bill we consider today is so vital in eliminating to the extent possible all avenues for Iran's allies to play enabler to its nuclear ambitions and to its patronage of terrorist operations.

I want to congratulate House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman TIM JOHNSON and other members for their hard work in crafting a bipartisan, bicameral bill that works.

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