A trio of senators have called for tougher sanctions against Iran to be tacked onto the defense authorization bill currently being considered in the upper chamber.
Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said even though current sanctions are having an economic impact on the Islamic Republic, it hasn’t been enough to curtail their nuclear development.
“By passing these additional measures ending sales to and transactions with Iranian sectors that support proliferation –energy, shipping, ship-building and port sectors as well as with anyone on our specially designated national list — we will send a message to Iran that they can’t just try to wait us out,” Menendez said.
“According to the latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Iranian government continues to defy the international community by expanding its nuclear enrichment capacity and abusing human rights,” Kirk said. “We must prevent the Iranian regime from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability and make it U.S. policy to stand with the Iranian people in the face of oppression. This bipartisan amendment will greatly increase the economic pressure on the Iranian regime and send a clear message of support to the Iranian people.”
There are four main components to the amendment: It designates Iran’s energy, port, shipping, and ship-building Sectors as entities of proliferation concern, will sanction any transactions with these sectors and will block the property of any third party that engages in transactions with these sectors.
It imposes sanctions on persons selling or supplying a defined list of commodities to Iran relevant to Iran’s ship-building and nuclear sectors such as graphite, aluminum, steel, metallurgical coal and software for integrating industrial processes. The amendment also prevents Iran from circumventing sanctions on its Central Bank by receiving payment in precious metals.
The amendment designates the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting entity and its president as human rights abusers for their broadcasting of forced televised confessions and show trials and thereby blocks their assets and prevents other entities from doing business with the IRIB.
It also imposes new human rights sanctions on those in Iran who are engaged in corruption or the diversion of resources related to allowed goods (food, medicine, etc.) and that are preventing them from reaching the Iranian people.
“Time is running out for diplomacy with Iran,” said Lieberman. “We have a responsibility to do everything in our power to put crippling pressure on the Iranian government, and passing these new sanctions is absolutely critical to that effort.”
The Senate is voting on two amendments tonight, including the Feinstein-Lee indefinite detentions one, and will likely still be working through amendments tomorrow.