London, 4 Apr – A Republican lawmaker is attempting to shine a light on the hidden finances of the Iranian Regime within the USA, with a new bill.
Bruce Poliquin, a Representative from Maine, has long been critical of the Regime’s support of terror but felt unsupported by the former administration.
He hopes that the Republican-controlled Congress will back his bill, the Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act, which orders the Treasury Department to compile a list of all money and assets held by high-ranking Iranian politicians or military leaders.
Poliquin has previously said: “[Iran’s] top government leadership, including the Supreme Leader and the military and political leaders, have amassed substantial wealth from their tyrannical rule of their people.”
He noted that these funds “are being used to support and sponsor terrorism.”
The bill calls for the Treasury to report (within 270 days of the bill’s enactment) information relating to funds and assets in US and foreign financial institutions that are under the direct/indirect control of the Iranian leaders.
They would then report annually for two more years.
Unclassified parts of the report would also be put online in English, Farsi, Arabic and Azeri, so that people in and near Iran, can also access the information.
Poliquin, a congressman from Maine’s 2nd District, managed to get a similar bill through the House of Representatives last year, but the motion stalled in the Senate.
It was opposed by Maine Representative Chellie Pingree and Massachusetts Representative Jim McGovern but was supported by Maryland Representative Chris Van Hollen.
Of the 2016 bill, McGovern said: “[It is] nothing more than another attempt by Republicans to undermine the historic agreement the United States worked so hard to achieve to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.”
He continued: “Preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons is a big deal. I am sorry my colleagues on the other side of the aisle don’t share that view, but it is a big deal. The world will be safer with a nuclear-free Iran.”
While Van Hollen said: “The bill will not only help make Iran’s citizens more aware of how corrupt their government is, the reporting requirements may help to shed additional light on the ways Iran’s Revolutionary Guard funds terrorism.”
The Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing, of which Poliquin is a member, issued a report in December laying out its concerns about the financing of terrorism by Iran and others.
Poliquin’s bill has been referred to the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
In February, Donald Trump ordered an expansion of sanctions on the Iranian Regime after they launched a ballistic missile test. He has also called the nuclear pact, a “bad deal”.