U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), a member of the Senate Armed Services and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees, today introduced the bipartisan Stop Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program Act which would increase economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran and those that do business with it. Similar legislation was recently introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA).
"Our goal is to end Iran's nuclear weapons program," said Senator Casey. "A nuclear Iran would threaten the security of the U.S. and our allies around the world. Our main ally in the Middle East, Israel, would be significantly vulnerable to a nuclear Iran. U.S. sanctions, which were signed into law earlier this year, combined with sanctions from the United Nations and U.S. allies have had an impact on Iran's ability to develop its energy sector and Iran's access to the international financial system. However, until Iran's nuclear weapons program has ended, we must continue to take measures to isolate Iran economically and diplomatically."
"A nuclear-armed Iran is absolutely unacceptable, and this bipartisan bill gives us more tools to stop the regime from obtaining nuclear weapons that threaten the United States and our allies in the region," said Senator Brown. "With these targeted sanctions, we force corporations to either support a peaceful Iran that does not antagonize the world or continue to line the pockets of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his oppressive regime."
"I look forward to working with Senators Casey and Brown to enact even tougher Iran sanctions legislation," said Congressman Brad Sherman, who introduced similar legislation in the House. "While the sanctions enacted in July have proven effective, it is critical that we continue to increase the economic pressure on Iran until it makes a political decision to abandon efforts to develop nuclear weapons."
The Stop Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program Act would:
* Expand sanctions under the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 by punishing the U.S. parent entity for the activities of a foreign subsidiary that would violate current U.S. sanctions;
* Deny tax benefits or the use of any taxpayer funds to companies that violate the Iran Sanctions Act;
* Authorize the State Department to deny entry to the United States for foreign national CEOs and other designated principal officers of companies that do business with Iran as defined by the Act;
* Require an expedited campaign at the Treasury Department to designate the hundreds of front companies and agents that operate on behalf of the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) and provides for secondary sanctions against any firms that continue to do business with them or the main IRGC;
* Sanction entities that subscribe to Iranian sovereign debt and
* Sanction entities that pay in advance for oil deliveries or sign long-term contracts to purchase oil and gas from Iran.