Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced that the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive bipartisan Iran sanctions bill which includes measures authored by Senators Gillibrand and Mark Kirk (R-IL) to strengthen economic sanctions against Iran, as well as a proposal introduced by Senators Gillibrand, Schumer (D-NY), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) that would enforce sanctions against the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. The Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Human Rights Act of 2012 will now be reconciled with the House version of the bill.
“By imposing crippling sanctions on Iran, this bill is a tough and smart plan to address the real threat Iran poses to the U.S. and our allies, particularly Israel,” said Senator Schumer. “This legislation also takes an important step toward imposing sanctions on the brutal Syrian regime. If the Syrian government will not stop their campaign of terror, then we will do everything we can to send the strongest message possible to that nation’s leadership that this behavior is beyond the pale and not without consequence.”
“The Iranian regime is an existential threat to the United States and our allies and we must quickly act to enforce a broader set of sanctions,” said Senator Gillibrand. “If we can isolate Iran and bring greater transparency to any investment being made in Iran, we can help defund the nuclear militarization of one of the world’s most hostile nations. It is also time for the Iranian regime’s best friend Syrian President Assad to step down. This new bill is an important step to end the bloodshed by the Syrian government and provide the Syrian people with tools needed to take back their own country.”
Senators Gillibrand and Kirk’s proposals would impose sanctions against those who aid in Iran’s human rights abuses and require companies that trade on the U.S. stock exchange to disclose any sanctionable business activities with Iran to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The measure’s target of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps is based on Gillibrand language in the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Sanctions Consolidation Act of 2011.
The Gillibrand-Schumer-Brown measure would require the President to identify those persons in the Syrian government, and those helping them, who have violated the human rights of pro-democracy demonstrators, members of the opposition, or other Syrians, for the purposes of blocking of any financial and property transactions in the US. The sanctions bill also prohibits the sale of technology or weapons to Syria, by any company seeking to do business with the United States, which would be used for censorship or human rights abuses in the country.
In April, President Obama issued an executive order which largely puts into place the Senators’ legislation. The White House’s executive order would require the President to identify those persons in the Syrian or Iranian government, and those helping them or providing to them information technology tools that allow the Syrian and Iranian governments to monitor, track or disrupt communications. These governments have used these tools to violate the human rights of pro-democracy demonstrators, members of the opposition, or others in their countries. Persons found to have assisted the governments of Syria or Iran would have their property in the U.S. blocked.