Roskam Co-Leads Bipartisan Letter Holding Administration Accountable on Fully Enforcing New Iran Sanctions
Bipartisan coalition of 89 House members press the Administration to act; Co-led by Congressmen Lance (R-NJ) and Lipinski (D-IL)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Eighty-nine House members sent a letter to the Obama Administration today, urging it to fully enforce newly enacted sanctions against any entity that engages in prohibited commerce with Iran, passed in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA). At this critical time, a hesitant, reserved, partial or half-hearted effort will only aid Iran in their dangerous quest for nuclear capability.
They write, "Upon signing the bill, you indicated that the sanctions program language was advisory only. It is not. As a co-equal branch of government, Congress has acted with overwhelming bipartisanship to put in place this tool to combat Iran's continued march towards nuclear weapons capability. We respectfully urge you to clarify that your intent is to fully and forcefully implement these provisions. We hope we can continue to work with your Administration to shut off the spigot of financial support that has allowed Iran to continue to thwart international engagement thus far."
"With a belligerent Iranian regime marching towards nuclear capability, the time is now for President Obama to fully unleash the new sanctions at his disposal," said Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) about the letter. "The potential cost of half-action is unthinkable for America and our allies."
"A nuclear-armed Iran is one of the most significant threats facing the United States and our allies in the world today," Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) said. "Congress has passed the laws that are needed to implement further sanctions against Iran to deter it from pursuing nuclear weapons – now the President must take full advantage of the tools at his disposal. The longer we delay, the closer Iran will move to acquiring nuclear technology."
"There is a growing concern that the Administration does not fully support the tough new sanctions passed by Congress to thwart Iran's nuclear pursuits," said Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-7). "It is the overwhelming position of the House and Senate that President Obama must use all available resources to prevent a nuclear Iran."
To view the letter click here. The full text is below:
January 26, 2012
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President,
We write to affirm our strong support for the new sanctions put in place when Congress passed and you signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA). Since the passage of that legislation, we have seen a spate of increasingly hostile actions and statements coming from Iran. From the December Iranian naval exercises in the Sea of Oman, to threats to prevent the passage of international oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, to an Iranian court's recent sentencing to death of American Amir Hekmati, to the Iranian military chief's warning that U.S. naval vessels will not be allowed to re-enter the Persian Gulf, it is clear that leaders in Iran are feeling the bite of these crippling new sanctions.
However, at this time of unprecedented national unity and international cooperation in taking every possible step to prevent Iran from acquiring the ability to make and use nuclear weapons, your statement at the signing of the NDAA that, with respect to the sanctions regime in the new law, you "will treat the provisions as non-binding," creates a damaging level of confusion and ambiguity about America's position on this critical issue.
As you know, the sanctions language was written with bipartisan cooperation in the Senate and both houses of Congress have supported the creation of this new sanctions regime with the hope that it will cut off the Iranian financial and petroleum sectors that have long been used to advance Iran's nuclear ambitions. Most importantly, the sanctions target the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) and the foreign entities it does business with in order to financially and politically isolate the regime over their relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons capabilities.
Upon signing the bill, you indicated that the sanctions program language was advisory only. It is not. As a co-equal branch of government, Congress has acted with overwhelming bipartisanship to put in place this tool to combat Iran's continued march towards nuclear weapons capability. We respectfully urge you to clarify that your intent is to fully and forcefully implement these provisions. We hope we can continue to work with your Administration to shut off the spigot of financial support that has allowed Iran to continue to thwart international engagement thus far.
Mr. President, we all agree that a nuclear Iran poses a grave threat to the security and stability of the region and the world. Furthermore, clear and compelling evidence shows that Iran's state-sponsored financial institutions have allowed them to fund and facilitate nuclear weapons research, development, and testing. The new sanctions are an important step in curtailing these activities.
At this critical time of engagement when the world must convince Iran to abandon its disastrous nuclear ambitions, there needs to be surety that America and our allies will use every possible measure to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. We respectfully request your Administration brief us at the earliest opportunity on how specifically you plan to implement the new sanctions and in particular, how your signing statement and potential reservations will impact the effectiveness of this effort.
We look forward to working together to ensure the safety and security of the U.S., the region, and the world.
Very Truly Yours,
Shelley Moore Capito
Jo Ann Emerson