Today Rep. Eric Massa voted to help pass H.R. 2194, the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act. This bill is targeted at holding those that enable the Ahmadinejad Regime accountable by denying them access to US markets so long as Iran continues to pursue nuclear weapons. Specifically this legislation will target the trade of petroleum reimportation by Iran. While Iran has an ample supply of crude oil, they lack the ability to refine it, thus their economy has largely relied on the process of exporting crude and reimporting refined oil. This bill will provide a significant disincentive for any foreign nations that engage in this trade from continuing to do so. The bill passed by 412 to 12 with 4 voting present.
"Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has proven that he's a threat to the security of the world and our Nation," said Congressman Eric Massa. "Time and again, he has lied about Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons, and those of us in Congress who voted for this bill have declared that enough is enough. Today we are sending the message that it's time for strong diplomacy and tangible repercussions for Iran's deceptive actions. When Mr. Ahmadinejad said that Israel should be 'wiped off the map,' he was not kidding and I'm not kidding about blocking his enablers from dealing with the United States. We must continue our diplomatic efforts in Iran, but we can't have a stick and carrot approach without the stick."
The Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act
The bill amends and reauthorizes the Iran Sanctions Act (PL 109-293). In amending the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), this bill mandates that any company be barred from the U.S. market if it:
* Sells, leases, or provides Iran any goods, services, technology, information or support that would allow Iran to maintain or expand its domestic production of refined petroleum products; or
* Provides Iran with refined petroleum products or engages in an activity that could contribute to Iran's ability to import refined petroleum resources.
This differs from current ISA law, which sanctions investment in Iran's energy sector, requiring the President to choose two of six possible sanctions of varying degrees of severity. Under the amendment, the President could choose to waive sanctions, just as he can under current ISA law.
Enhancements to the Iran Sanctions Act
This bill also closes existing loopholes in the Iran Sanctions Act regarding investigations of sanctionable activities and subsequent determinations. It requires the President to investigate a company upon receipt of credible information that such company is engaged in sanctionable activity and to make a determination within 180 days of commencing such an investigation as to whether the company is, in fact, engaged in sanctionable activity. Currently, the President is not required to commence or conclude an investigation, or even to make a determination regarding sanctionable activities.
Extending Iran Sanctions Act
Under current law, the Iran Sanctions Act (PL 109-293) would expire on December 31, 2011. This bill extends the Iran Sanctions Act through December 31, 2016.