March 7, 2012 | Press Release

FDD Applauds Bipartisan Efforts to Close Loopholes in Iran Sanctions


Washington, DC (Mar 07, 2012) — In the coming days, a bipartisan group of congressmen will introduce legislation to close loopholes Iran exploits to circumvent sanctions over its illegal nuclear pursuits.

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies applauds Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) for developing legislation that will likely become part of a broader Iran sanctions bill expected to reach a vote in April or May.

“The measures Kirk and Sherman are pushing are the best way of pressuring Iran to reconsider its nuclear ambitions,” said FDD executive director Mark Dubowitz, who has advised the Obama administration and key congressional offices on Iran sanctions measures. “Illicit finances are like water: They seep through cracks. For sanctions to work, we must not allow hairline cracks to become gaping holes.”

“These measures would require the White House to sanction every known Iranian financial institution, restrict the ability of Iran to use international clearinghouses to move money through the global financial system, and require all foreign financial institutions that do business in the United States to report their transactions with Iran to the Treasury,” said Jonathan Schanzer, a former Treasury terrorism analyst and FDD's vice president for research.

The legislation would be useful in encouraging the United States and the European Union to require the Luxembourg-based Clearstream, the Brussels-based Euroclear Group, and any other company providing settlement and post-settlement services, communications, technology or professional consulting for international financial transactions to ensure that they are not assisting Iran.

It would also require the Obama administration to designate all Iranian banks, including Saman, Maskan, Pasargad, Parsian, and Kesharvazi, and numerous others to which Tehran has turned as its other, larger banks have come under pressure from sanctions.

The administration laid the necessary legal groundwork in November 2011, when it announced a finding under Section 311 of the PATRIOT Act, declaring the entire Iranian banking sector a money laundering risk. This enabled Senators Kirk and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) to advance an amendment to the 2012 defense budget, targeting the Iranian central bank.

To discuss the Foundation for Defense of Democracies' work on Iran sanctions, or schedule interviews with Mr. Dubowitz, or any of FDD's other experts, please contact David Donadio at [email protected].


The Foundation for Defense of Democracies is a non-profit, non-partisan policy institute dedicated exclusively to promoting pluralism, defending democratic values, and fighting the ideologies that drive terrorism. Founded shortly after the attacks of 9/11, FDD combines policy research, democracy and counterterrorism education, strategic communications, and investigative journalism in support of its mission. For more information, please visit


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