Congressman Jeff Duncan's legislation, the "Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act," (H.R. 3783) passed the U.S. Congress by a vote of 386-6, and now awaits the President's signature to become law.
"One of the ways we can honor those who lost their lives during the War on Terror is to be vigilant in protecting against growing threats here at home. This is a common-sense, pro-liberty bill that assesses the problem, gets agencies to collaborate, and begins the process of developing a strategy to combat this threat," said Duncan.
"In the shadow of Iran's growing nuclear ambitions, there's a serious danger emerging of an Iranian-backed terror network in our own hemisphere. From the deployment of an Iranian television network in Latin America, to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's frequent trips to the region, Iran has made its interest in the region well known," said Duncan. "Recent developments include seeing suspected Hezbollah terrorists arrested in Mexico, growing Iranian activity in pursuing political agreements with Latin American countries, and Hezbollah and Hamas actively working with international criminal and drug organizations in the Western Hemisphere."
"Iran's actions in our neighborhood represent a real threat to our safety and security," said Duncan. "Its naval commanders have expressed their intent to extend Iran's military presence into the Atlantic Ocean closer to the coastlines of the U.S. Just last week, the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Europe and the Americas visited Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Uruguay. This bill provides the first step to countering Iran's hostile presence right here at home, while also protecting our liberty, and I'm hopeful that this measure will be signed by the President.
Duncan's bill is one of only 13 substantive bills authored by freshmen Members of Congress that managed to reach the President's desk this term.
"In this political climate, it's hard to agree on much of anything. I'm glad Congress was able to come together and put partisanship aside to address this threat here at home," Duncan stated.
Establishes a strong U.S. posture, policy, and relationship with Latin American countries
Protects U.S. interests and assets in the Western Hemisphere such as embassies, consulates, businesses, energy pipelines, and cultural organizations, including threats to U.S. allies
Addresses the vital national security interests of the United States by ensuring that energy supplies from the Western Hemisphere are free from the influence of any foreign government that would attempt to manipulate or disrupt global energy markets
Requires a secure U.S. border through coordinating with the governments of Mexico and Canada to prevent Iranian operatives from entering the U.S.
Counters efforts by foreign persons, entities, and governments in the region to assist Iran in evading U.S. and international sanctions