Iran sanctions bill clears key panel

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The White House has warned against unilateral sanctions that could undermine the international sanctions the United States has spearheaded over the past several years. And Secretary of State John Kerry has called for a moratorium on new sanctions ahead of Iran's presidential elections next month.

According to a committee summary of the bill, the legislation: 

Ø  Stiffens penalties for human rights violators by applying the financial sector sanctions in existing law to transactions involving:

·         human rights violators

·         persons transferring technologies to Iran that are likely to be used to commit human rights abuses

·         persons who engage in censorship or related activities against citizens of Iran, corrupt officials that confiscate humanitarian and other goods for their own benefit, and

·         persons exporting sensitive technology to Iran. 

Ø  Strengthens existing sanctions by compelling countries that are currently purchasing crude oil from Iran to reduce their combined purchases of Iranian crude oil by a total of 1,000,000 barrels per day within a year.  By taking 1,000,000 barrels per day of Iranian crude oil off of the market within a year (with safeguards to ensure that international oil markets can withstand such a reduction), the Iranian regime would continue to lose the long-term funding that it requires to pay for its nuclear program, ballistic missiles, and sponsorship of terrorism. 

Ø  Penalizes foreign persons who engage in significant commercial trade with Iran. This would use the same model – targeting transactions through the Central Bank or a designated Iranian bank – that has successfully curtailed Iran’s oil trade over the past year. 

Ø  Expands the list of sectors of the Iranian economy effectively blacklisted, and provide the president the tools to add additional sectors of strategic importance to the government of Iran. 

Ø  Limits Iran’s access to overseas foreign currency reserves and impose additional shipping sanctions to limit the ability of the regime to engage in international commerce.      

Ø  Requires that the administration produce annually a national strategy on Iran highlighting Iranian capabilities and key vulnerabilities that the United States may exploit, providing the United States government a roadmap as to how to effectively address the Iranian threat.

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