March 27, 2012

Chairman Tim Johnson Responds to Iran Sanctions Legislation Being Blocked in the Senate

WASHINGTON – Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD), author of the bipartisan Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Human Rights Act, provided the following statement after the bill was blocked from passage on the Senate Floor.

“I am disappointed and frustrated that Majority Leader Reid’s effort to have the Senate adopt our tough, bipartisan Iran sanctions legislation – a bill which passed unanimously out of the Banking Committee -- was blocked today. Senator Shelby and I have always worked to ensure that Iran sanctions legislation is done on a bipartisan basis, and I hope that the select few Republicans who reportedly blocked this important bill will reconsider their opposition and allow it to move forward as soon as possible. With Iran continuing to defy its international legal obligations and refusing to come clean on its nuclear program there is no reason to delay passage of this bipartisan bill.”

The Senate Banking Committee has jurisdiction over sanctions legislation and passed the Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Human Rights Act by a unanimous voice vote in February. In 2010, the Committee passed sanctions legislation which became law and provided the President with powerful new tools to counter the Iranian threat. These new sanctions together with other international efforts have prompted many foreign firms to withdraw from Iran, and slowed Iran’s illicit nuclear program.

The Johnson-Shelby bill which was blocked today provides for a range of new measures for the President to increase pressure on Iran to comply with its international obligations. The legislation will broaden the list of available sanctions, require intensified targeting of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, require firms traded on US stock exchanges to disclose Iran-related activity to the Securities and Exchange Commission, sanction energy and uranium mining joint ventures with Iran’s government outside of Iran, penalize US parent firms for certain Iran-related activities of their foreign subsidiaries, mandate sanctions for those who supply Iran with weapons and other technologies used to commit human rights abuses, and provide other similar measures designed to increase pressure on Iran’s government.