Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New Sanctions Resolution Introduced into the House of Representatives

Representatives Gary Ackerman (D-NY) and Mike Pence (R-IN) are circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter on the hill to drum up co-sponsors for H.Con.Res. 362, introduced on May 22, 2008. The legislation expresses “the sense of Congress regarding the threat posed to international peace, stability in the Middle East, and the vital national security interests of the United States by Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and regional hegemony, and for other purposes” and urges the President to impose new sanctions on Iran.

H.Con.Res. 362 resolves that Congress:

(1) declares that preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, through all appropriate economic, political, and diplomatic means, is vital to the national security interests of the United States and must be dealt with urgently;

(2) urges the President, in the strongest of terms, to immediately use his existing authority to impose sanctions on--
(A) the Central Bank of Iran and any other Iranian bank engaged in proliferation activities or the support of terrorist groups;
(B) international banks which continue to conduct financial transactions with proscribed Iranian banks;
(C) energy companies that have invested $20,000,000 or more in the Iranian petroleum or natural gas sector in any given year since the enactment of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996; and
(D) all companies which continue to do business with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps;

(3) demands that the President initiate an international effort to immediately and dramatically increase the economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities by, inter alia, prohibiting the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products; imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran; and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran's nuclear program; and

(4) urges the President to lead a sustained, serious, and forceful effort at regional diplomacy to support the legitimate governments in the region against Iranian efforts to destabilize them, to reassure our friends and allies that the United States supports them in their resistance to Iranian efforts at hegemony, and to make clear to the Government of Iran that the United States will protect America's vital national security interests in the Middle East.

Below is the full “Dear Colleague” letter requesting co-sponsorship of the legislation.

Take a Stand Against Iranian Bullying:
Co-Sponsor H. Con. Res. 362

May 28, 2008

Dear Colleague:

We write to encourage you to join us as sponsors of H.Con.Res.362, a resolution expressing the sense of Congress regarding the threat posed to international peace, stability in the Middle East, and the vital national security interests of the United States by Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and regional hegemony.

As the Chairman and Ranking Minority Member of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, we have been monitoring with growing concern Iran's manifest efforts to destabilize and reshape the Middle East, to block efforts to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict and, worst of all, to acquire the means to produce enriched uranium, the key to producing nuclear weapons.

Iran is backing and arming militias and terrorists fighting the United States and our allies in both Iraq and Afghanistan; it is the proud patron of both the Hamas take-over in Gaza and the Hezbollah insurrection against the Lebanese government; it is the major funding source for numerous terrorist groups and, increasingly, its fellow state-sponsor of terrorism, Syria; it is supporting Islamist sectarian groups in places like Kuwait, Bahrain and Yemen; and, it is radically reorienting regional security calculations (e.g., the sudden interest among Sunni Arabs in commercial nuclear power).

In various public statements, Iranian leaders proudly take ownership of these policies and promise more of the same. Meeting the threat posed by Iran is an urgent requirement for the United States, and a challenge that will require us to work closely with the international community, and especially with partners in the Middle East. Though the stakes are high and time is short, the resolution is explicit in stating that meeting the challenge from Iran must be done using all appropriate political, diplomatic and economic levers, and that "nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization of the use of force against Iran."

The threat from Iran is real and growing, and Congress needs to sound the alarm to ensure that today's efforts by Iran at subversion and proliferation do not, tomorrow, become the seeds of new and more terrible conflict in the Middle East.

Please contact Dalis Blumenfeld ( at the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia at 202-225-3345 if you'd like to be added as a sponsor.


s/ Gary L. Ackerman s/ Mike Pence

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