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SENATE PASSES DODD-SHELBY IRAN SANCTIONS BILL

January 28, 2010

WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the Dodd-Shelby Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act.
 
“The Iranian regime has engaged in serious human rights abuses against its own citizens, funded terrorist activity throughout the Middle East, and pursued illicit nuclear activities posing a serious threat to the security of the United States and our allies,” said Chris Dodd (D-CT), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.  “With passage of this bill, we make it clear that there will be appropriate consequences if these actions continue.”
 
 
The bill will:
 
·         expand the Iran Sanctions Act to cover a range of financial institutions and businesses and extend sanctions to oil and gas pipelines and tankers;
·         impose new sanctions on entities involved in exporting certain refined petroleum products to Iran or building Iran’s domestic refining capacity;
·         impose a broad ban on direct imports from Iran to the US and exports from the US to Iran, exempting food and medicines;
·         require the Administration freeze the assets of Iranians, including Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, who are active in weapons proliferation or terrorism;
·         require the President to determine and report to Congress if  investments in Iran’s energy sector are eligible for sanctions;
·         enable Americans to divest from energy firms doing business with the Iranian regime;
·         strengthen export controls to stop the illegal black market export of sensitive technology to Iran through other countries and impose tough new licensing requirements on those who refuse to cooperate; and
·         prohibit the U.S. government from purchasing goods from firms that do business in Iran’s energy sector, or that provide sensitive communications technology to monitor, jam or otherwise disrupt communications among Iranians, or between the Iranian people and the outside world.
 
 
 
Dodd-Shelby Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, & Divestment Act
Summary As Passed by the Senate
 
The Iranian regime has engaged in serious human rights abuses against its own citizens, funded terrorist activity throughout the Middle East, and pursued illicit nuclear activities posing a serious threat to the security of the United States and our allies.  The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act strengthens sanctions and supports the President as he pursues a dual track of engagement and sanctions.
 
Human Rights Abuses: Sense of Congress that the President should: press the Iranian Government to respect its citizens’ human rights and religious freedoms; identify Iranian officials responsible for violating these rights; and respond appropriately, including prohibiting their entry into the U.S. and freezing their assets.  Also calls for additional funds for the Secretary of State to collect and share information on human rights abuses.
 
ISA Procurement Ban: Prohibits the U.S. government from purchasing goods from companies that are sanctionable under the Iran Sanctions Act.
 
Communications Procurement Ban (Schumer):  Prohibits the U.S. government from contracting with companies that export sensitive communications jamming or monitoring technology to Iran, which allow the regime to restrict communications between Iranian citizens or between Iranians and the outside world - such as the oppressive activities that occurred during this summer’s protests over election abuses.
 
Assets Freeze:  Strengthens and codifies into law the Treasury Department’s freeze on assets of Iranian officials and associates who support terrorism and proliferation activities.
 
Sanctions on Investments:  Expands sanctions on foreign companies investing over $20 million in Iran’s oil and gas sector to certain financial institutions, foreign subsidiaries, insurers, export credit agencies, and others.
 
Subsidiaries:  Requires U.S companies be sanctioned for the activities of their subsidiaries established specifically to circumvent sanctions if they invest over $20 million in Iran’s energy sector.
 
Refined Petroleum Sanctions (Bayh-Kyl-Lieberman):  Requires the President sanction companies involved in exporting refined petroleum products to Iran or in developing oil refineries within Iran by restricting their foreign exchange transactions, access to U.S. banks, and acquisition, holding, or transfer of property in the U.S.
 
ISA Report:  Requires the Administration to report to Congress a list of the companies that are sanctionable under the Iran Sanctions Act and whether or not sanctions will be applied.
 
Trade Ban:  Codifies into law and strengthens the Treasury Department’s ban on trade with Iran, with exceptions for the export of food, medicine, humanitarian aid and the exchange of informational materials.
 
National Interest Waiver: The President can waive sanctions if he finds it is in the national interest of the United States, but must report to Congress describing the reasons for the waiver.
 
Counter-Terrorist Financing Resources: Authorizes funds for the Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Office (TFI) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) at the Treasury Department.
 
Divestment (Brownback-Casey):  Authorizes states, local governments, and mutual funds to divest from firms investing in Iran’s energy sector, and protects private asset managers from lawsuits over fiduciary duties.
 
Black-Market Proliferation Networks: Requires the U.S. assist Iran’s trading partners in preventing the re-export of sensitive dual use technology to Iran via third countries and to subject these countries to significant restrictions on exports if they refuse U.S. assistance.
 
Sense of Congress: Includes a sense of Congress that the U.S. should continue to aggressively target Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah for sanctions and consider new sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank.
 
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