92 Senators urged President to impose sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank in August
WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–November 18, 2011. United States Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) yesterday filed an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which would impose crippling sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran. The Kirk amendment, which comes just days after a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concluded that Iran is engaged in activities “highly relevant to a nuclear weapons program,” follows the bipartisan Schumer-Kirk letter sent to President Obama in August by 92 Senators urging crippling sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank.
“Without immediate and serious action, the Islamic Republic of Iran will have a nuclear weapons capability in the near future,” Senator Kirk said. “As the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, it’s quite likely that the Iranian regime would transfer its nuclear weapons to terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas. And we can be sure that an Iranian bomb will set off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East – from Saudi Arabia to Egypt. We must act now or face the consequences of a nuclear Iran.”
The Central Bank of Iran is the primary bankroller of Iran’s global terror network, its nuclear program and other illicit activities. According to the recent IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear program, Iranian activities include: efforts to procure nuclear-related equipment and materials; an undeclared nuclear material production line; work on an indigenous design for a nuclear weapon and testing of components; and efforts to integrate a new payload into the re-entry vehicle of the Shahab-3 missile – a payload that the IAEA assesses would only be used to accommodate a nuclear warhead.
The Kirk amendment, similar to one offered by U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) and unanimously adopted by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, would impose sanctions on foreign financial institutions that conduct transactions through the Central Bank of Iran. These sanctions would include a loss of access to the U.S. financial system and blocking of U.S.-based assets. The amendment provides a six-month exception for oil transactions to ease the burden on U.S. allies and send a calming signal to the oil markets. In addition, the amendment provides the President with a national security interest waiver authority and a humanitarian exception for those sending food, medicine and medical supplies to the Iranian people.