House to act against Iran in the Western Hemisphere

The bill, from Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), would make it U.S. policy to counter Iran's presence and activity in Western Hemisphere, and require the State Department to conduct an assessment of the threats Iran poses to the United States in the Hemisphere. This report to Congress would have to include a wide range of information, including all activities related to terrorism and Iran's association with drug groups, and a strategy for dealing with these threats.

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The bill already passed the House in September by voice vote, and it was approved by the Senate by unanimous consent last week with one amendment, from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Rubio's language allows State's strategy for dealing with Iran in the Hemisphere to be presented to Congress in a classified form.

The bill passed the House the first time shortly after reports that Iran has set up a Hezbollah terrorist training base in Nicaragua, and that three suspected Hezbollah terrorists were arrested in Mexico.

"From the deployment of an Iranian television network in Latin America, to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's frequent trips to the region; Iran's made their interest in the region well known," Duncan said in September. "Recent developments including arresting suspected Hezbollah terrorists in Mexico, and evidence showing terrorist networks potentially working closely with Mexican drug cartels, is even more disturbing."

The bill is being brought up as a suspension bill this week, which means it will need a two-thirds majority for passage, although it may easily be passed by voice vote again. House passage will send the bill to the White House for President Obama's signature.