AFP: Top US lawmakers crafting Iran sanctions legislation announced Monday they had reached a deal on a series of punitive measures aimed at piling pressure on Tehran over its suspect nuclear program.
WASHINGTON (AFP) — Top US lawmakers crafting Iran sanctions legislation announced Monday they had reached a deal on a series of punitive measures aimed at piling pressure on Tehran over its suspect nuclear program.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman said they were circulating a draft bill to colleagues as sources said the US Congress could approve the measure as early as this week.
Berman and Dodd said their blueprint, which aims to tighten existing US sanctions on the Islamic republic, would give President Barack Obama “a full range of tools to deal with the threats posed by Iran.”
“If applied forcefully by the president, this act will bring strong new pressure to bear on Tehran in order to combat its proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, support for international terrorism and gross human rights abuses,” they said in a joint statement.
The legislation as currently written targets firms that provide oil-rich Iran with refined petroleum products — like gasoline or jet fuel — needed to meet domestic demand because the country lacks its own refining capabilities.
It could also see non-US banks doing business with certain blacklisted Iranian entities — including the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and several banks — shut out of the US financial system, according to a summary of the bill.
“In effect, the act would present foreign banks doing business with blacklisted Iranian entities a stark choice: Cease your activities or be denied critical access to America’s financial system,” the summary said.
The legislation would also aim to hold US banks — long barred from doing business with Iran — accountable for actions by their overseas subsidiaries.
The bill would target non-US firms that sell goods, services or know-how to Iran that help the Islamic republic develop its energy sector, including insurance, financing and shipping companies.
It would also forbid US banks from financial transactions with non-US banks that do business with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, help Iran’s nuclear program or its support for extremist groups.