New Penalties against Syrian Company Not Enough to Pressure Either Iran or Syria, Ros-Lehtinen Says

Statement

By:  Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Date: Aug. 10, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement today on the announcement that the Administration will impose U.S. sanctions on Sytrol, a Syrian state-run oil company, for selling 3,300 metric tons of gasoline to Iran:

"The revelation that Sytrol sold literally tons of gasoline to Iran is a reminder about the dangerous and ongoing relationship between these two pariah states and that sanctions against the Iranian regime, if fully implemented and enforced, can also hurt its Syrian partner. Earlier this month, the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed a new, tougher Iran sanctions law to implement crippling pressure against the regime in Tehran and hold gross human rights violators in Syria accountable. The President must sign it and implement it immediately.

"While I am pleased that the Administration took this step to punish a Syrian company selling gas to Iran, there remain a vast number of entities getting a free pass for their ongoing business dealings with Tehran. We can and must do better. Time is of the essence. The longer that we wait, the more room South Korea, China and other Iranian crude oil importers will have to either continue enabling the Iranian regime or to backslide on previous commitments to substantially decrease crude oil imports, and even repatriate hard currency to Tehran. We need to stop making exceptions and impose the strongest pressure against Iran that we can."

NOTE: H.R. 1905, the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, was passed overwhelmingly by the House and the Senate on August 1. It was presented to the President for his signature on August 3.