Accelerated Economic Sanctions Needed Against Iran (Rep. Eliot Engel)

I generally believe that Iran represents the most dangerous threat to the region today. Iran is obviously trying to build their capability and not just for peaceful purposes. I don’t think that any of us are fooled by their statements.

Iran is playing a negative role in Iraq, in the Middle East peace process and in the Middle East in general. The President of Iran has made outrageous statements, calling for the ‘destruction of Israel’ and also calling the President of the United States the ‘Devil.’ Those are outlandish statements.

Iran represents a threat and we have to use diplomacy as much as we can to prevent them from developing a nuclear bomb. The frustration, of course, with Iran has been that the United Nations has essentially been ineffectual in trying to curtail the Iranian nuclear ambitions, because the sanctions in the Security Council or the tougher sanctions have essentially been blocked by Russia and China. The way the Security Council is set up, any one of those countries has a veto.

Of course what that means is that the US and our allies in NATO and the EU by my estimation have to get together and decide which sanctions to impose. I am a big believer in the fact that Iran is economically rotting from within, so everything that we can do to help accentuate that rot we should be doing.

The Soviet Union our adversaries for 50 years, collapsed from within and essentially collapsed economically. Iran who is sitting on oil, they have been a big importer of energy because they have been so mismanaged and had difficulty with having energy supply, keeping gasoline low and the populist at large is very restive.

In order to deal with this, we need to try to divest wherever the US has companies that are investing in Iran or have affiliates who invest in Iran that that is where we need to displace it. We need to pull out the way they did in California where they had pension funds pulled out of any country who have had dealings with Iran. That is the best way to have economic sanctions against Iran to try to further accentuate their rotting economy.

I am fully convinced that the Iranian people want to be friends with the American people. We have seen polls and surveys showing that the people at large are not in line with the hard line regime, the Islamic Republic Regime. The US should facilitate everything we can to help make that economy rot so that the people of Iran can be free.

There are many different approaches as far as sanctions. I believe that economic sanctions are the best sanctions and I would support of all the legislation that will help accelerate economic sanctions on Iran.