UPDATE: Iran Sanctions Legislation in the 111th Congress

UPDATE: Iran Sanctions Legislation in the 111th Congress

Senate Passes Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Act

January 29, 2010, Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the Senate passed the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2009 (S.2799) by a voice vote. The Act, which was introduced by Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) last November, targets Iran’s energy sector by placing sanctions on foreign companies that provide Iran with refined petroleum, among other measures.

“Passing this legislation sends Iran an important message that the United States is serious about keeping it from acquiring nuclear weapons,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid explained in a statement after the vote.

The legislation also bans most direct imports from Iran to the U.S. (exempting food and medicine), enables state and local government pension funds to divest from energy firms doing business with Iran, and strengthens export controls on the importation of sensitive technologies to the Iranian government, which can be used to monitor their own people. Senator John McCain tried but failed to add an amendment to the bill which would have applied sanctions on Iran’s human rights violators. 

A similar measure passed the U.S. House of Representatives in December of last year.  The two measures must now be reconciled before a final version is submitted for the President’s approval. 

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration has emphasized its preference for multilateral sanctions targeting Iran’s leadership while pursuing its diplomatic efforts. 

Click here to read PAAIA’s detailed Report on Iran Sanctions Legislation in the 11th Congress.

While PAAIA is focused on domestic U.S. affairs as they relate to the Iranian American community and has not been a platform for promoting U.S. foreign policy vis-à-vis Iran, we recognize the importance of Iranian Americans being informed about legislative initiatives and positions of their members of Congress concerning this topic. Accordingly, the purpose of this report is to outline the background and significance of some of the sanctions legislation under consideration in the 111th Congress.

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