The Senate passed a measure as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2013 today that adds additional sanctions against Iran by building upon on current U.S. law. The sanctions, sponsored by Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), along with Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), are designed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons capacity.
"This bill builds upon previous sanctions by significantly increasing economic pressure on the Iranian regime," Senator Kirk said. "The Iranian government continues to defy the international community by expanding its nuclear enrichment capacity and these new sanctions will strangle the flow of its non-petroleum trade. The sanctions will prevent Iran from accessing foreign currency reserves and precious medals to further its proliferation goals."
The Senate passed the Conference Report accompanying H.R. 4310, the Department of Defense Authorization Bill, by a vote of 81-14. The House passed the measure by a vote of 315-107 on Thursday, December 20. The President is expected to sign the bill.
The final version of the sanctions adopted gives the administration 180 days to implement the sanctions, a 90 day increase from the original Senate proposal.
The sanctions have four main components:
1. Designates Iran's Energy, Port, Shipping, and Ship-Building Sectors as entities of proliferation concern due to the role they play in supporting Iran's proliferation activities because they both support and fund Iran's proliferation activities. Under the sanctions -- with the exception of permissible petroleum transactions from countries that have significantly reduced their purchases of oil from Iran -- these sectors will be off limits. The U.S. will sanction any transactions with these sectors and will block the property of any third party that engages in transactions with these sectors.
2. Imposes sanctions on persons selling or supplying a defined list of commodities to Iran -- commodities that are relevant to Iran's ship-building and nuclear sectors such as graphite, aluminum, steel, metallurgical coal and software for integrating industrial processes. The measure also prevents Iran from circumventing sanctions on its Central Bank by receiving payment in precious metals.
3. Designates the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting entity and its President as human rights abusers for their broadcasting of forced televised confession and show trials and thereby block their assets and prevent other entities from doing business with the IRIB.
4. To address concerns about access to humanitarian goods in Iran, there are exceptions for the provision and sale to Iran of food, agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices and other humanitarian goods AND the measure imposes new human rights sanctions on those in Iran who are engaged in corruption or the diversion of resources related to these goods and that are preventing them for reaching the Iranian people.