US lawmakers seek to strengthen Iran sanctions

Congressmen introduce new legislation against Tehran in bid to exert pressure to halt nuclear program, stop human rights abuses.

May 17, 2011 05:53
2 minute read.
Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei and Ahmadinejad

Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei and Ahmadinejad 311 (R). (photo credit: Reuters)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

WASHINGTON - US lawmakers said on Monday they were seeking to stiffen sanctions on Iran to pressure it to give up its nuclear program and stop alleged abuses of human rights.

US Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Howard Berman, the top Republican and Democratic members of the US House of Representatives' foreign affairs committee, have introduced new sanctions legislation.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

'Die Welt: Iran building rocket bases in Venezuela'
Arab spring, Persian winter

The two lawmakers and others in Congress worry that Iran is circumventing sanctions approved by Congress last year as part of an international effort to press Iran into talks over its nuclear development.

Iran says its uranium enrichment program is for peaceful energy needs, but Western governments suspect it is aimed at making an atomic weapon.

Click here for full Jpost coverage of the 
Iranian threat

The US sanctions approved last year targeted Iran's energy and banking sectors, threatening to penalize foreign companies that did business with Tehran.

Only two companies have been sanctioned: Belarusneft, from Belarus, and Naftiran Intertrade Co, a Swiss-based subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company.

The new legislation would seek to close loopholes in existing law by, among other things, making it harder for the US president to waive sanctions, Ros-Lehtinen's office said.

"US policy toward Iran has offered a lot of bark but not enough bite," Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican, said in the statement.

The bill would also impose additional sanctions on companies that did energy business with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is increasingly involved in all sectors of Iran's economy, Berman's office said.

And it would target alleged human rights abusers in Iran by freezing their assets in the United States, denying them entry to the United States, and forbidding them to conduct business dealings with the United States, Berman's office said.

The United Nations said in March that Iran has increased executions and abuse of human rights and opposition activists.

"As we await vigorous enforcement by the Obama administration ... we must continually look ahead and examine additional means to pressure Iran," Berman, a Democrat, said.

The Obama administration says it is enforcing existing sanctions law but has also emphasized that some companies have abandoned Iranian links voluntarily to avoid US sanctions.

Last September, the State Department said four international energy companies -- Total, Statoil, ENI and Royal Dutch Shell had agreed to curtail their energy dealings with Iran.

Related Content

July 17, 2018
Iran files International Court of Justice suit against U.S. over new sanctions