AFP: Frustrated by Iran’s defiance of global pressure to halt its nuclear program, key US lawmakers on Monday unveiled plans for more punishing economic and political sanctions aimed at Tehran.
WASHINGTON (AFP)— Frustrated by Iran’s defiance of global pressure to halt its nuclear program, key US lawmakers on Monday unveiled plans for more punishing economic and political sanctions aimed at Tehran.
Democratic Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson and the panel’s top Republican, Senator Richard Shelby, said the panel would vote on their “Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Human Rights Act” on Thursday.
“Iran’s continuing defiance of its international legal obligations and refusal to come clean on its nuclear program underscore the need to further isolate Iran and its leaders,” said Johnson.
The legislation “sends a clear signal through strong measures that Iran must abandon its nuclear weapons program and its designs for the spread of international terror,” said Shelby.
The bill would widen existing economic and political sanctions on individuals and firms that do business with Iran or are seen as helping the Islamic republic advance its suspect nuclear program.
The measure calls for a US travel ban and freezing of US assets aimed at individuals and firms that provide Tehran with technology — everything from rubber bullets to surveillance equipment — used to repress dissent.
It also would tighten sanctions aimed at Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including bans on travel to the United States, a freezing of US assets, and targeting “anyone who materially assists” the IRGC with other sanctions.
It would require firms competing for US government contracts to certify that they and their subsidiaries have not had “significant economic transactions” with the IRGC or individuals or entities connected to it.
It would extend existing sanctions on firms that invest in Iran’s energy sector to include related joint ventures anywhere in the world where Iran’s government is a substantial partner or investor.
It calls for imposing sanctions on firms that invest in projects involving Iranian officials, companies, or go-betweens in the mining, production, or transportation of uranium anywhere in the world.
Investors that agree to withdraw from such projects within six months from the date the bill becomes a law would be exempt.
The measure also would enable President Barack Obama to impose new sanctions on senior executives of firms facing sanctions over energy-related dealings with Iran, as well as major shareholders, including travel bans or asset freezes.
It would target shippers, insurers and reinsurers that knowingly help Iran obtain materials that could be used to develop weapons of mass destruction, and increases US firms’ liability for the actions of their foreign subsidiaries if they violate US sanctions law regarding Iran.
The bill would also require all firms with stock traded on US exchanges to disclose whether they or their affiliates have engaged in activities that could fall afoul of US sanctions targeting Tehran, including energy investments, or the sale of communications monitoring or surveillance technology.
And it aims to deny US visas to Iranian students who aim to come study energy-related fields in US institutions if the US State Department finds they plan to return to work in Iran’s energy sector or on Tehran’s nuclear program.