Lipinski, Wolf Lead Letter to Sec. Clinton Urging Sanctions Against Chinese and Other Foreign Companies Helping Fuel Iran's Nuclear Ambitions
Today, Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Frank Wolf (R-VA) led 39 Members of Congress in sending a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urging a broader use of available sanctions against foreign companies that invest in Iran’s energy sector and thereby help to fuel its nuclear ambitions.
“Iran’s energy sector is the lifeblood of its economy,” Rep. Lipinski said. “By curbing energy investment in Iran, we can seriously hamper its efforts to develop nuclear weapons, its support for international terrorism, and its overall influence. But doing so will require the Administration to aggressively target companies from China – as well as from other countries such as South Korea – that reportedly continue to do energy-related business with Iran despite U.S. laws allowing for the imposition of sanctions. For the sake of American national security, our government must utilize the full array of legal tools at its disposal to isolate Iran and force it to recalculate its interests.”
“We ought not be surprised that Chinese energy companies persist in investing in the Iranian energy sector, but that doesn’t mean that we should tolerate it,” Rep. Wolf said. “The Administration must be proactive in utilizing the tools at their disposal to sanction such companies, thereby deterring Iranian efforts to attain nuclear weapons. If the Iranian government fulfills its nuclear ambitions it would have disastrous consequences for the region and the world as a whole. The time to act is now.”
Passage by Congress last year of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act and similar legislation instituted by other countries resulted in a number of foreign companies deciding to cease to do business in and with Iran rather than face potential sanctions. Yet companies from China and elsewhere have remained active in Iran without suffering consequences, showing the need to go beyond threats to impose sanctions against companies that continue to do business there.
Recent news of an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States by bombing a restaurant in America further highlighted Iran’s dangerous and unpredictable behavior and the need for action to isolate its leadership.
“The Iranian regime is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and cannot be allowed to build a nuclear weapon,” Rep. Lipinski said. “Each day that foreign companies are allowed to support the Iranian energy sector without international repercussions further enables and empowers Iran to continue seeking to threaten American national security. Clearly, our overall efforts directed at Iran’s acquisition of technology and development of its energy sector thus far have not succeeded in dissuading the Iranian regime from its threatening course. Additional efforts are called for, and we ask that the United States once again take the lead.”
(October 26, 2011)
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