Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Administration Supports Reauthorizing the Iran Libya Sanctions Act

Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 19, 2006. Click here to access his prepared testimony. Below are some highlights related to US policy options for sanctions on Iran:

"There was an 'experts' level meeting in London on September 14 to review the technical details of the elements we want to include in a sanctions resolution. Secretary Rice and I will pursue this discussion of sanctions at the UN General assembly in New York this week and next."

"Representative for the European Union Javier Solana is discussing with Iranian officials a last-minute attempt to convince Tehran to accept the conditions of suspension and agree to negotiations. We support his effort but we will push for the imposition of sanctions if these talks do not produce a satisfactory outcome. The international community is waiting for Iran to give an unequivocal reply to our offer to negotiate."

"In confronting the challenges posed by Iran, the Administration supports legislation that would reauthorize the current ILSA [Iran Libya Sanctions Act] statute for an additional five years. A bill to this effect has been introduced in the Senate: S. 2657."

"I would like to say a word about H.R. 282 [Iran Freedom Support Act], which was passed by the House of Representatives and is pending before this Committee, and S. 333, also before this Committee. The provisions that freeze current restrictions, set specific deadlines for decision-making, that restrict certain waiver authorities, and – in HR 282—that call for divestment of assets and prohibitions on assistance, would narrow the President’s flexibility in the implementation of Iran sanctions and strain relations with allies whose cooperation is crucial to our efforts to change Iran’s behavior. These bills would effectively penalize most severely the very allies critical to maintaining our international coalition against Iran."

"Our message to Tehran remains clear: abandon the quest for nuclear weapons, and establish a full and verifiable suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. If you can do so, the U.S. and others will begin negotiations. If you cannot, you will face sanctions."

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