AFP: US lawmakers unveiled new Iran sanctions legislation Thursday that could bar major global telecommunications giants that do business with the Islamic republic from lucrative US government contracts. WASHINGTON (AFP) — US lawmakers unveiled new Iran sanctions legislation Thursday that could bar major global telecommunications giants that do business with the Islamic republic from lucrative US government contracts.
The Accountability for Business Choices in Iran Act, or ABC Iran Act, takes aim at non-US firms that invest or operate in Tehran's energy sector or export "sensitive technology" that could be used by the Iranian government.
The measure would require any such company seeking a contract with the US government or benefiting from giant economic stimulus and financial bailout packages to certify that it does not conduct business operations in Iran.
"It is time for companies to make a choice: Either do business with the US government or do business with Iran," said Democratic Representative Ron Klein of Florida, the measure's lead author.
Any false certification would result in a ban on doing business with the US government.
US companies are already prohibited under US law from contracts with Iran, and it was not immediately clear how many non-US firms would be affected if the measure becomes law.
But the United Against Nuclear Iran advocacy group, which helped write the measure, maintains a list of companies that do business in Iran and notes that telecommunications giants Nokia and Siemens could be affected.
"It is time for companies to pick a side, either stand with those who promote freedom and peace, or fall with the outlaws who promote religious tyranny," said Representative John Mica, the measure's lead Republican backer.
The measure came amid a rising tide of support in the US Congress for imposing new sanctions on Iran, amid charges that Tehran seeks a nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian atomic energy program.