US House passes four bills targeting Iran’s missiles, Hezbollah activity

The House of Representatives challenges Hezbollah and Iran.

October 26, 2017 00:44
1 minute read.
Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary

Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2011.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives passed four bills on Wednesday that would sanction Iran’s ballistic missile activity and Hezbollah’s terrorist practices.

The bill targeting Iran’s missile work – which has earned bipartisan support – would require the president to report to Congress details of Tehran’s missile supply chain, and determine whether its program violates international law. The US would further sanction Iranian individuals and agencies involved in the missile work, as well as “foreign entities that supply material” to the program.

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If passed into law, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps will likely bear the brunt of the sanctions, given its role in Tehran’s ballistic missile development. The bill follows up on previous sanctions legislation targeting Iran’s ballistic missile program, and reasserts that US policy is “to prevent Iran from undertaking any activity related to nuclear-capable ballistic missiles,” referencing the ability of ICBMs to carry nuclear payloads.

Three other bills considered in the House on Wednesday address Hezbollah activity. One would encourage the European Union to fully designate all of Hezbollah a terrorist organization, after the transcontinental body listed only its “military wing” as such in 2013. Another would sanction Hezbollah individuals for their use of human shields as a war crime. And a third would beef up a 2015 sanctions law targeting Hezbollah’s finances, requiring the president to report back annually to Congress on the net worth of the Lebanese group’s leaders.

All four bills received voice votes, as is typical for noncontroversial, bipartisan legislation, and thus easily passed without precise roll calls.

US President Donald Trump laid out a comprehensive strategy on Iran earlier this month that previewed harsh executive action on the Islamic Republic over its missile work and its funding of proxy militias, Hezbollah chief among them. In a speech on October 13, he said he would direct the Treasury Department to target the entirety of the IRGC, Iran’s largest military organization and economic entity.

The House votes took place while the commander of Lebanon’s armed forces, Gen. Joseph Aoun, is visiting Washington, warning lawmakers and the Trump administration that additional sanctions might have adverse consequences if they end up breaking the nation’s delicate economy.

While in the US capital, Aoun chose to boycott a conference of army chiefs that was attended by Israeli military brass.

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