July 30, 2012

Johnson Announces Senate-House Agreement on Iran Sanctions Bill

WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) announced a bicameral, bipartisan agreement on tough new sanctions legislation to increase the economic pressure on Iran’s leaders to abandon their illicit nuclear weapons activities and support for international terrorism. Chairman Johnson will work to help pass the bill in the Senate before Congress adjourns this week.
“A nuclear-armed Iran would represent a grave threat to regional peace and international security,” said Chairman Johnson.  “I am pleased we could come together and find agreement on this bipartisan and bicameral bill. These new sanctions will send a clear signal to Iran’s military and political leaders, that unless they come clean on their nuclear program, end the suppression of their people, and stop supporting terrorist activities, they will face deepening international isolation and even greater economic and diplomatic pressure.”
The newly announced bill is based on the Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Human Rights Act of 2012 (S. 2101), which passed with unanimous support in the Senate in May, and includes a number of new measures from both Democrats and Republicans to create a stronger, more effective and more comprehensive bill. The bill will give the Obama Administration new tools to use in its efforts to isolate Iran and prompt its leaders to end its illicit nuclear activities.
The bipartisan bill includes sanctions on anyone who:     
  • works in Iran's petroleum, petrochemical, or natural gas sector;
  • provides goods, services, infrastructure, or technology to Iran's oil and natural gas sector, including financial services, consulting, and maintenance & repair;
  • conducts oil-for-gold or other swap transactions with Iran;
  • insures or re-insures investments in Iran's oil sector;
  • engages in joint ventures with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC);
  • provides insurance or re-insurance to the National Iranian Oil Company or the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC);
  • helps Iran evade oil sanctions through reflagging, etc;
  • sells, leases, or otherwise provides oil tankers to Iran, unless from a country that is significantly reducing its oil purchases;
  • transports crude oil from Iran, concealing the origin of Iranian crude; or transports refined petroleum products to Iran; sanctioned vessels could be prevented from landing at a port in the U.S. for up to two years.
  • provides special financial messaging services to designated Iranian banks, or those who enable such activity;
  • engages in uranium mining with Iran anywhere in the world.
The bill aims to prevent Iran from repatriating any of the revenue it receives from the sale of its crude oil, depriving Iran of hard currency earnings and funds to run its state budget. It also prevents the purchasing of Iranian sovereign debt after the date of enactment, thereby further limiting the regime’s ability to finance its illicit activities. 
The bill expands sanctions against Iranian and Syrian officials for human rights abuses facilitated by computer and network disruption, monitoring, and tracking by those governments.
The sale of Iranian crude oil will be sharply limited to only countries that have agreed to significantly reduce their purchases of Iranian crude, toward a complete cessation of these activities.
NOTE:  Full text of the legislation is available here. A summary of the legislation is available here. A section-by-section description of the legislation is available here.