July 31, 2013 | Press Release

Congress: Enhanced Leverage Required for Diplomatic Deal


Washington, D.C. – As Iran continues to advance its illicit nuclear program, the House of Representatives today overwhelmingly approved the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013 by a vote of 400 to 20.

The legislation, co-authored by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), sends a bipartisan message to the Iranian regime and its political and commercial allies that the pressure will only continue until Iran complies with its obligations under multiple U.N. Security Council and IAEA resolutions.  

The legislation targets the oil revenues that are Tehran’s main source of export earnings; foreign exchange reserves that are its principal hedge against the impact of sanctions; key strategic sectors of the Iranian economy, including automotive, mining, construction and engineering; “privatized” assets in which the regime retains a controlling stake, bonyads and investment authorities; non-humanitarian commercial trade; and, human rights violators and nodes of humanitarian corruption. The legislation immediately limits Iran's access to overseas foreign currency accounts by establishing an effective date for sanctions violations of May 22, 2013. The bill seeks to remove one million barrels of oil per day within a year from countries that are currently purchasing crude from Iran. Analysis from leading international energy experts, including the International Energy Agency, confirm that energy markets are sufficiently liquid to allow for a complete and rapid embargo on Iranian petroleum exports.

Commenting on the House vote, FDD’s executive director Mark Dubowitz said, “The House bill reinforces the message that Iran’s unwillingness to meet its nuclear obligations will only bring the regime closer to economic collapse. Iran’s leaders are not demonstrating moderation by continuing to advance their illicit nuclear program. As long as Iranian nuclear physics continues to beat Western diplomacy and economic pressure, the Obama administration needs enhanced leverage to have any chance of reaching a diplomatic deal that removes the Iranian nuclear threat.”

Dubowitz added, “Iran’s president-elect Hassan Rouhani is a regime loyalist, who has played an intimate role in the decades-long nuclear deception of the regime. He won the election because the Iranian people are tired of the economic pressure that the Iranian Supreme Leader’s nuclear intransigence has brought. The burden now is on Mr. Rouhani to persuade his Supreme Leader to compromise; the Obama administration must resist calls to negotiate with itself by blocking new sanctions or offering unilateral sanctions relief. Without dramatic pressure, the Supreme Leader can be expected to maintain course on his illicit nuclear program.”

Dubowitz concluded, “Iran continues to build up an industrial-size capability for multiple nuclear weapons, and is a year away from having an undetectable nuclear bomb. With this urgent nuclear deadline looming, the Senate needs to follow the House by moving without delay to the final passage of the legislation. Sanctions alone, however, will not achieve the objective of a comprehensive and verifiable deal with Iran. The Obama administration must work with Congress to bolster coercive diplomacy by enhancing the credibility of a U.S. military option. The Supreme Leader must be persuaded that the United States is serious about stopping Iran from reaching critical nuclear capability – peacefully if possible, by force if necessary.”

To speak with FDD experts, please contact Madeleine Levey Lambert at 202-403-2941 or [email protected]


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