US Congress Considers More Sanctions Against Iran

by
Reuters
Lawmakers from the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are working to finalize a new package of sanctions aimed at further reducing oil and other revenues u

 

Lawmakers from the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are working to finalize a new package of sanctions aimed at further reducing oil and other revenues used by Iran to further its nuclear program.

The new measures build on penalties for foreign banks that handle transactions for Iranian oil, sanctions that were signed into law by President Barack Obama in December.

Tehran has insisted its nuclear activities are for civilian purposes, but U.S. lawmakers want to prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb.

The new package is designed to further tighten sanctions. The House passed its version last December, and the Senate added a number of measures in its bill, passed last month.

The House version of the bill combined existing Iran sanctions laws into one, made more sanctions mandatory, and made it harder for the administration to grant waivers for sanctions.

The Senate version gives the administration more discretion in how to apply sanctions, but also added a number of measures.

Here is a summary of key provisions and some of the remaining issues that may be considered.

 

KEY PROVISIONS

* Forces the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, as well as other financial messaging service providers to block all Iranian banks from using networks to help transfer funds electronically.

* Bans third-country entities from accessing electronic banking systems on Tehran's behalf.

* Pushes President Barack Obama to determine whether Iran's main shipping and tanker companies have links to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which would lead to sanctions.

* Sanctions companies involved in energy-related joint ventures with Iran anywhere in the world established after 2002.

* Punishes U.S. parent companies whose foreign subsidiaries do business with Iran.

* Requires companies traded on U.S. exchanges to disclose business done with Iran in public filings.

* Includes some sanctions on Syrian officials responsible for human rights abuses, and on companies that sell Syria guns or telecommunications equipment used to prevent free speech.

* Penalizes satellite companies that provide service to the Iranian government at the same time Tehran jams certain signals.

 

ADDITIONAL MEASURES THAT MAY BE CONSIDERED

* Cut off from the U.S. financial system any companies that insure deals involving oil and gas investments and shipments with Iran, unless the oil shipments are allowed under exemptions.

* Ban ships from U.S. ports that recently landed in Iran, North Korea or Syria. A House of Representatives bill would deny entry to ships that had been to the countries within the previous two years, and a Senate proposal would set a 180-day time frame.

* Block companies from U.S. markets if they deal with or provide any kind of service to an Iranian energy company.