Rubio, Kirk introduce bill to block Iran’s access to US money

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A pair of Senate Republicans want to block Iran’s access to the U.S. financial system amid reports that the Obama administration could lift some restrictions. 
Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Mark Kirk (Ill.) introduced legislation Wednesday to block foreign banks from being able to carry out currency exchanges for Iran that involve U.S. dollars. 
{mosads}The legislation would prohibit Iran from getting indirect access to U.S. currency, including blocking “offshore United States dollar clearing system for transactions” tied to Tehran or an Iranian national. 
Rubio argued that the Obama administration has been “moving the goalposts” on Iran since the nuclear agreement, which the senator opposes, was reached last year, according to a statement. He said Iran has continued to fund terrorist organizations and test missles since then.
“Iranian access to U.S. dollars or the U.S. financial system, whether direct or indirect, will only further support these threatening and destabilizing activities,” he said. 

Kirk added that providing even indirect access to U.S. currency would “green light the greenback for the Iranian regime’s terrorists and financial criminals.”  

Their proposal also includes sanctions for any offshore bank that helps Iran get access to U.S. currency. 

The two senators sent a letter last week asking the administration to hold the line on current restrictions amid reports that it might loosen some of those policies.

Officials told the AP that no decision was finalized and any loosening of the current prohibition would come with several restrictions, including that Iranian banks could not be directly involved. 
Rubio suggested Tuesday he would put a hold on Treasury Department nominees until he and other senators get answers on the issue. The move would effectively block the Senate from taking up the nominations. 
“I cannot support the consideration of key Treasury Department officials until I receive clear answers to my letter to Secretary [Jack] Lew,” he said in a statement.
Senators from both parties have raised concerns about Iran’s behavior since the nuclear deal was reached last year, particularly over a spate of recent ballistic missile tests. 
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said separately Wednesday he hopes Congress will soon take up sanctions legislation currently being hashed out by top members of the Foreign Relations Committee. 
“I hope the Senate will move forward on this legislation soon. Our allies and our friends need to know that if the president won’t stand by them and challenge our adversaries, that Congress will,” he said. 
Tags Iran Iran nuclear agreement Iran sanctions John Cornyn Marco Rubio Mark Kirk
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