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Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Washington, DC – The House Foreign Affairs Committee approved Ranking Member Howard Berman’s amendment to require the President to make a determination within 30 days whether the Central Bank of Iran is involved in sanctionable activity during committee consideration of H.R. 1905, The Iran Threat Reduction Act.
“The Central Bank of Iran is widely suspected of financing Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, along with the nefarious activities of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps – and it’s time that the Bank, and those who work with it, are called to account. My amendment would force banks to make a choice: either terminate transactions with the Central Bank, or risk the loss of your business in the U.S. The stakes could not be higher, as Iran is making inexorable progress in enriching uranium for its nuclear weapons program,” said Congressman Berman.
Specifically, Congressman Berman’s amendment requires the President to make a determination within 30 days whether the Central Bank is involved in any of the following four areas:
• Supporting Iran’s WMD or missile programs, including proliferation of WMD to other governments;
• Financing Iran’s procurement of advanced conventional weapons;
• Providing financial services for the IRGC, or
• Furthering Iran’s support of international terrorism.
If the President determines that the Central Bank of Iran is indeed involved in any of these activities, then he would be required under this amendment to apply sanctions under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. This would result in any foreign bank involved in significant transactions with the Central Bank of Iran also being blocked from the U.S. economy.
This amendment would be a substitute for Section 401(b) of the underlying markup text. Sec. 401(b) merely calls for a report to Congress on the Central Bank, but does not require any action to be taken by the U.S. government, nor does it address the Central Bank’s support of the IRGC.