I would like to first thank Chairman D'Amato for his courageous leadership on this important issue. Terrorism affects the lives of far too many, and it is our duty to do all we can to help put a stop to it.
I was shocked to learn that on September 30, the Iranian National Oil Company had signed a $2 billion deal with Gazprom of Russia to develop Iran's South Pars Gas field. I was even more outraged to learn that it may have done so with the assistance of our government.
Gazprom, a principal in this deal, is a state-owned oil company, which also recently announced plans to raise $1 billion in the United States capital markets with the assistance of the Export-Import Bank. In addition, I understand that the Ex-Im is prepared to guarantee commercial loans up to $750 million to enable Gazprom to continue its work in the Russian oil and gas sector.
Mr. Chairman, it is totally unacceptable for any agency of the United States government to aid foreign companies that invest in Iran or any other outlaw nation.
Clearly, there is a strong, direct correlation between Iran's income -- raised primarily through sales of its oil -- and its ability to sponsor terrorism, build weapons of mass destruction, and acquire technologically superior arms. U.S. taxpayers should not have to finance these activities.
I believe all Ex-Im Bank financing for Gazprom should be halted if it invests in Iran's oil industry. I understand $152 million has been approved for the sale of equipment for compressor stations, and that approval for another $186 million is still under consideration. These deals must not be allowed to go through.
We cannot in good conscience aid the rogue government of Iran in any way. Our message must be very clear: Gazprom must choose. Either it deals with Iran, or it deals with the United States. It cannot do both.
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