Washington DC – Today, Congressman Brad Sherman (D – CA), the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, issued the following statement regarding new sanctions on Iran’s central bank:
“Last week, President Obama took bold action against Iran, providing the required certification under Section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act concerning world oil supply. Within a few months, foreign banks face tough penalties if they process transactions for oil sales involving the Central Bank of Iran (CBI).
This action will force Iran’s remaining oil customers to further curtail their purchases and seek greater discounts. Known as the Menendez-Kirk Amendment, the legislation is having a direct impact on Iran’s government revenues from oil, and it is the boldest single sanction against Iran we have applied thus far.
President Obama and his administration should also be commended for their effective diplomacy on isolating Iran as they have implemented the major legislation passed by Congress in 2010 and late 2011. Europe has imposed an oil embargo effective in July of this year and no longer allows its banks to do business with the CBI. Other allies are curtailing their business relationships with Iran to an unprecedented degree. There is real pressure on the Iranian government now. Unfortunately, that pressure is still insufficient.
Therefore, we must enact stronger sanctions legislation soon. The action is now in the Senate, where legislation authored by Senators Johnson and Shelby awaits floor action. I urge the Senate Leadership to work to strengthen the excellent Johnson-Shelby bill before it is passed by the Senate.
In particular, I urge Senate Leadership to allow a version of an amendment authored by Senator Kirk to be considered by the Senate. I introduced similar legislation in the House, along with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. This legislation, called the Iran Financial Sanctions Improvement Act, will close a number of gaps in our existing sanctions.
It will ensure that all of Iran’s banks are cut off from the financial system, not just those that have been designated. It will ensure compliance by all banks by requiring them to report to Treasury periodically on their Iran business. It would sanction any firm that handles assets for the CBI, and has provisions that would target firms that provide insurance for sensitive business with Iran.
After the current district work period the Senate should pass the toughest possible Iran legislation, and it is critical that the Kirk-Sherman language be part of the bill when it leaves the Senate.”