Oil terminal in Iran
Photo: EPA

Top US senators agree on tough penalties on Iran

Bipartisan bill aims to impose measure that would target Iran's Revolutionary Guard, require companies that trade on US stock exchange to disclose any Iran-related business

Determined to weaken Iran economically, a top Senate Democrat and Republican on Monday unveiled a bill to impose sweeping new penalties on Tehran and thwart its nuclear ambitions.


Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, the panel's top Republican, said they had agreed on the measure that would target Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, require companies that trade on the US. stock exchange to disclose any Iran-related business to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and expand penalties for energy and uranium mining joint ventures with Tehran.


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The bill also would deny visas and freeze assets on individuals and companies that supply Iran with technology that could be used to crack down on its citizens, such as tear gas, rubber bullets and surveillance equipment.


Johnson and Shelby said their committee would consider the legislation on Thursday.


"A nuclear-armed Iran would represent a grave threat to regional peace and international security," Johnson said in a joint statement with Shelby. "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."


Shelby said the bill "sends a clear signal through strong measures that Iran must abandon its nuclear weapons program and its designs for the spread of international terror."


Insufficient penalties

A report in November suggested that some of the Islamic Republic's alleged experiments could have no other purpose than developing nuclear weapons. Iran contends that its program is designed to generate electricity, not build weapons. A UN inspection team currently is in the country.


Both the Obama administration and the international community have imposed tough sanctions on Iran. Johnson and Shelby said those penalties have been insufficient in deterring Tehran from pursuing a nuclear weapon.


Among the provisions of the legislation is an expansion of US sanctions to include companies involved in joint energy ventures anywhere in the world in which Tehran is a significant partner or investor. The penalties also would apply if Iran receives energy technology or information that wasn't previously available to the government.


Penalties also would be imposed on companies involved in a joint venture with Iran in the mining, production or transportation of uranium. Individuals who agree to abandon such projects within six months would be exempt from the penalties.


The legislation would require the president to identify and designate officials, affiliates and agents of the Revolutionary Guard Corps. These individuals would be subject to sanctions and barred from the United States. Individuals or companies that engage in transactions with the Revolutionary Guard Corps, even through bartering, also would be subject to sanctions.


Penalties also would be mandatory for shippers or insurers who knowingly aid the shipment of materials that contribute to Iran's weapons of mass destruction or terrorism-related activities.


The bill is likely to garner strong bipartisan support. Last year, the Senate voted 100-0 for a measure sponsored by Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., to the annual defense bill that targeted financial institutions that do business with Iran's Central Bank. President Barack Obama signed the wide-ranging defense bill on Dec. 31.




פרסום ראשון: 01.31.12, 07:41
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