SENATE, HOUSE PASS TOUGHER NEW IRAN SANCTIONS: Urge the President to sign quickly

Will the new sanctions stop Iran from getting the Bomb? Join tonight’s live webcast of the 2010 Epicenter Conference at 7pm eastern for a discussion of this, the state of U.S.-Israeli relations, the latest projects by The Joshua Fund to bless Israel and her neighbors, an update on efforts by the U.S. government to deport Mosab Hasan Yousef (“Son of Hamas”), information about next year’s prayer & vision tour to Israel and Epicenter Conference in Jerusalem, and more. Details at

UPDATE: The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed tougher new Iran economic sanctions 408 to 8. The vote came a few hours after the Senate voted 99 to 0 for the same package. The bill was sent to the President. Please contact the White House to urge the President to sign it quickly.

“The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA) of 2010 (H.R. 2194) is the most comprehensive and toughest piece of Iran sanctions legislation ever considered by Congress,” said AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, in a detailed analysis of the legislation that I commend to your attention. “The legislation imposes smart, crippling sanctions on Iran aimed at persuading the regime to end its illegal nuclear program.

The sanctions are designed to supplement the U.N.’s new sanctions approach and follows the lead of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper who’s government was the first to impose supplemental sanctions on Iran. I pray they work, but I concede that I’m concerned the world is taking these moves too late in the game. Another concern raised by some  on Capitol Hill and in the media is whether the Obama administration will pro-actively and aggressively enforce these tougher new sanctions. “The administration’s schizophrenic policy on Iran has long been apparent to Capitol Hill observers, but increasingly has frustrated even members of the President’s own party,” noted an  analysis by The Heritage Foundation. “Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), who has been a leading advocate of stronger sanctions on Iran, complained that ‘The administration doesn’t carry out the laws that are on the books, and they want the new law to be as weak and loophole-ridden as possible.’” Several weeks ago, the Los Angeles Times explained this dynamic in a story headlined, White House works to ease Iran proposal in Congress: The Obama administration fears tough U.S. sanctions against companies doing business in Iran would anger foreign allies.”

That said, this is a useful step, and let’s pray that it is effective.

“The Senate on Thursday passed tough new sanctions targeting Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and Iran’s imports of gas and other refined energy products as the Tehran government continued to defy demands it abandon its nuclear ambitions,” reports the Associated Press. “The House was also winding up debate on the legislation that would add muscle to U.S. penalties against the Tehran government. President Barack Obama was expected to quickly sign it into law. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said the legislation, coming after a year in which Obama administration efforts at direct diplomacy with Tehran produced few results, represented ‘the most powerful sanctions ever imposed by the Congress on the government of Iran.’ Foreign companies will be given a choice, he said. ‘Do you want to do business with Iran, or do you want to do business with the United States?’ The Senate vote was 99-0. The House passed its version of the bill in October and the Senate acted in January. But Democratic leaders delayed final action so diplomatic efforts could play out…..” [To read the rest of the article, please click here]

According to the Associated Press, the congressional legislation would:

  • “Expand the scope of the 1996 Iran Sanctions Act by penalizing foreign companies that assist Iran’s energy sector. While Iran is a major exporter of oil, it relies heavily on imports for its refined products such as gasoline.
  • “Ban U.S. banks from dealing with foreign banks doing business with the Revolutionary Guard or aiding Iran’s nuclear program.
  • “Ban foreign companies from U.S. government procurement contracts if they provide Iran with technology used to restrict the free flow of information. Iranians involved in human rights abuses would be barred from obtaining visas and be subject to having their assets in the United States seized.
  • “Provide a legal framework for U.S. states, local governments and other investors to divest their portfolios of foreign companies involved in Iran’s energy sector.
  • “Lawmakers from both parties stressed that the bill will be ineffective if the Obama administration, like past administrations, chooses not to punish violators in order to avoid confrontations with other countries.”