Obama signs Iran sanctions into law

Israeli businessmen urge American companies to boycott Teheran.

July 2, 2010 03:39
3 minute read.
Obama speaks during a joint news conference with F

Obama chops 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

After years of congressional efforts, sweeping new Iran sanctions will become law Thursday night when US President Barack Obama signs the bill on his desk.

The legislation affects the gasoline, financial, insurance and shipping sectors, among others, as it seeks to impose a heavy economic cost on Iran for continuing with its nuclear program.

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The bill attempts to bar foreign countries from exporting refined petroleum to Iran, as well as restrict access to American financial institutions for any entities that help Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. It also seeks to choke off investment, technology and development of Iran’s energy sector, and makes it easier for states and localities to divest from companies that do business with Iran.

The measure was passed overwhelmingly by the Senate and House last week ahead of the July 4 recess. Sponsors described it as the toughest ever to target Iran.

Though the Obama administration had expressed some reservations about the details of the bill, its main concern was that the move would disrupt its own efforts to get a new sanctions resolution through the UN Security Council. Once that passed last month, lawmakers seized on the opportunity to build on the framework by putting through the unilateral US measure.

Though the White House didn’t get as much latitude as it was seeking, it will still have the ability to determine how aggressively the sanctions are pursued and enforced.

American Jewish groups have enthusiastically welcomed the legislation, as has the Israeli government.

Israeli businessmen to companies: 'Pull out of Iran completely'

Meanwhile, a group of Israeli businessmen wrote letters on Thursday to dozens of companies blacklisted by Iran for being “Zionist” or “Jewish-owned,” declaring that the companies must respond by pulling out of Iran completely. The letters will be sent over the weekend.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad signed a new amendment to a law forbidding the airing of advertisements for “Zionist companies” on Wednesday. The list of companies includes many American and international corporations with branches in Israel, such as Coca-Cola, Nestle, Intel and IBM.

Ahmadinejad said that in an effort to support the Palestinians, he would propose similar laws in international forums, including the United Nations, the Arab League and the Muslim Forum.

The group of Israeli businessmen, led by financial strategist Shai Baaton, said the proper way to respond to the blacklist was for the companies to boycott Iran completely and see how long Ahmadinejad’s regime could last without Coca-Cola and computers.

“Ahmadinejad is the Hitler of the 21st century and is the first dictator of the century to adopt such blatantly anti-Semitic policies,” Baaton said. “Any enlightened person, and especially any Jew who continues dealing with Iran, is a traitor to the Jewish people and the democratic principles of the free world.”

'Companies should boycott Iran out of self-respect'

Baaton said the companies should boycott Iran not only out of good judgment and values, but also out of their own self-respect. The president of the Cashflow colleges that promote financial independence, Baaton initiated a boycott of companies that do business with Iran last month.

He also sent a letter to Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz urging him to implement a bill passed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu two years ago that requires Israel to divest from an as-yet-unwritten list of companies that do business with Iran.

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