Tuesday, January 31, 2012

US Congress drafts Iran sanctions bill

The US Congress

Source: Press TV

US lawmakers have drawn up a bill that would impose a new round of sanctions on Iran targeting the country's energy and telecommunications sectors.

The 61-page bipartisan bill, announced by the Senate Banking Committee late on Monday, is scheduled to be put to a vote at a hearing on Thursday.

If ratified, the new law would require the US government to identify officials of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) within 90 days and designate them for sanctions.

The new law would also give the US legal authority to sanction foreign companies that buy oil from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), have oil shipped by the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), or supply Iran with telecommunications equipment.

In addition, the new legislation would penalize US companies that conduct business with Iran through their foreign subsidiaries or participate in uranium mining joint ventures with Iran in other parts of the world.

It would also require companies listed on US stock exchanges to disclose all their Iran-related activities to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The US, Israel, and their allies accuse Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program and have used this allegation as a pretext to convince the United Nations Security Council to impose four rounds of sanctions on Iran.

On December 31, 2011, US President Barack Obama signed into law new sanctions on Iran, seeking to penalize countries importing Iran's oil or conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.

And on January 23, during a meeting in Brussels, European Union foreign ministers reached an agreement to ban oil imports from Iran, freeze the assets of the Central Bank of Iran across the EU, and ban sales of grains, diamonds, gold, and other precious metals to the country.

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