AFP: Top US lawmakers pressed President Barack Obama in a letter released Friday to pile pressure on Iran to halt its suspect nuclear program by imposing stiff sanctions on its central bank.
WASHINGTON (AFP) — Top US lawmakers pressed President Barack Obama in a letter released Friday to pile pressure on Iran to halt its suspect nuclear program by imposing stiff sanctions on its central bank.
“Sanctioning the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) would impose powerful financial pressure on Iran to curb its dangerous and illegal activities,” said Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, number-two House Democrat Steny Hoyer, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and her panel’s top Democrat, Representative Howard Berman, signed the letter.
The lawmakers appealed for “a sense of urgency” in the wake of a report from the UN nuclear watchdog agency seen as buttressing Western charges that Iran seeks nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian energy program.
“Clearly, the time available for the United States and responsible nations to prevent Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear capability is running short,” the lawmakers wrote to Obama, who was on a trip to Asia.
The representatives urged the president to “expeditiously determine” whether Iran central bank transactions aid proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or “terrorism-related activities,” Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, or help other banks to duck US or international sanctions on Tehran.
“We believe a review of this matter would show that CBI is involved in those activities,” they said.
If confirmed, “we urge you to quickly designate CBI as a facilitator of Iran’s weapons of mass destruction proliferation and terrorist activities for the purpose of imposing sanctions,” they wrote.
“We also urge you to make the Central Bank of Iran’s involvement in proliferation and terrorist activities the target of coordinated multilateral sanctions,” they wrote.