New Measures Against Iran

— Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA)

I applaud the Treasury and State Department for adopting additional measures against Iran today, but the measures in place are still too timid to cause the Iranians to abandon their nuclear weapons program.

I am pleased the President has adopted an explicit policy providing for sanctions against companies that provide goods, services and technology for — as opposed to investment in — Iran’s oil and gas sectors, and to provide for sanctions against those that help Iran’s Petrochemical sectors.

While investment was clearly covered by the Iran Sanctions Act, whether the mere sale of goods, services and technology alone is sanctionable was left vague by the statute.  This is a change I had urged during the deliberations on the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and Divestment Act last year, and the President finally addressed it in this new order.

More after the jump.
The designation of additional entities under the existing Executive Order targeting proliferation is also welcome, but we still have only designated a relative handful of the entities warranting such sanction.  Far more is necessary.  Also, foreign companies that continue to do business with those Iranian entities designated need to face tough penalties.  That still is not the case under the President’s orders, but is addressed by language I authored in the legislation currently being considered by Congress.  

The designation of Iran under Section 311 of the Patriot Act as an area of money laundering concern could have a significant impact, but we need to actually punish those foreign financial companies that continue to do business with Iran’s banks, including the Central Bank.  The action announced today will only require that US banks take greater measures to ensure that their foreign partners do not allow the Iranians to access the US financial system through them.  

Congress still needs to enact tough Iran sanctions legislation, sooner rather than later, including the Iran Threat Reduction Act and legislation that I introduced, the Stop Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program Act.