Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:  Rush Holt, Jr.
Date: Aug. 3, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the amended version of H.R. 1905, the Iran Threat Reduction & Syria Human Rights Act.

I am a co-sponsor of and voted for the original version of this bill when it was on the House floor in December 2011. Since that time, the bill has been refined in the Senate with language designed to essentially paralyze Iran's oil sector, which has already seen its oil exports fall by 60 percent as a result of sanctions imposed to date. The improved bill before us even more broadly targets Iran's oil sector and anyone who tries to do business with Iran in this area. It will prevent the Central Bank of Iran from repatriating funds from the sale of oil as part of bilateral trade agreements Iran may have with other nations. Indeed, prior sanctions passed by this Congress have caused India and Turkey to deny Iranian banks licenses to set up branches in those nations. Finally, this bill includes sanctions targeting Syrian officials responsible for the massacres in that nation since the Syrian people began their uprising more than 18 months ago.

These are important steps we must take as part of a strategy to use every means available to compel Iran to meet its international obligations. Iran must renounce any effort to acquire nuclear weapons, and that claim must be verified through thorough, intrusive on-site inspections and monitoring.

I should also note that yesterday, President Obama announced a fresh set of sanctions against Iran's energy and petrochemical sectors based on existing sanctions law and his own authority as president. As President Obama noted this week, ``The United States remains committed to a diplomatic solution, but the onus is on Iran to abide by its international obligations. If the Iranian government continues its defiance, there should be no doubt that the United States and our partners will continue to impose increasing consequences.'' The government of Iran should understand that Congress, on a bipartisan basis, is sending the same message by passing H.R. 1905. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this bill.

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