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Angie Drobnic Holan
By Angie Drobnic Holan August 25, 2011

Foreign Affairs committee pushes enforcement, new bills on Iran

House Republicans said they would push for tough enforcement of sanctions against Iran. Their track record so far shows solid effort.

In May, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced a bill that would strengthen rules on sanctions for Iran. That measure garnered bipartisan support; Ros-Lehtinen announced her lead co-sponsor was Rep. Howard L. Berman, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the committee. 

The bill particularly targets Iran's attempts to sell its crude oil, as well as the involvement of Iran's Revolutionary Guard in such sales. 

A little over a week after Ros-Lehtinen announced the proposed legislation, the Obama administration came forward with new sanctions against several businesses and individuals doing business with Iran, particularly those supplying Iran with refined petroleum products.

"By imposing these sanctions we're sending a clear message to companies around the world. Those who continue to irresponsibly support Iran's energy sector or help facilitate Iran's efforts to evade U.S. sanctions will face significant consequences," said U.S. State Department Deputy Secretary James Steinberg.

In June, Ros-Lehtinen introduced another bill to strengthen sanctions against those who might aid Iran, North Korea or Syria in obtaining weapons of mass destruction. That too had a Democratic co-sponsor, U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif.

Since those events, the House Foreign Affairs Committee has held two hearings on Iran, one on general policy for Iran and Syran and another on U.S. human rights policy in Iran and Syria. 

And on July 29, 2011, Ros-Lehtinen wrote a letter to the U.S. Treasury Department asking about information on possible violations of trade rules by the ING Group, a financial services company based in the Netherlands. She urged the department to "take all necessary steps to ensure that ING and other such entities are held accountable."

We can't say that the Obama administration announced its new sanctions in May as a response to pressure from House Republicans. But House Republicans have undeniably been pushing for greater enforcement, both through legislation and hearings on the matter. We rate this Promise Kept. 

Our Sources

U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Ros-Lehtinen Introduces New Iran Sanctions Legislation to Close Loopholes, Mandate Enforcement, May 16, 2011

Foreign Policy,House goes first with new Iran sanctions bill, May 16, 2011

The White House,Executive Order Concerning Further Sanctions on Iran, May 23, 2011

U.S. Department of Treasury, Recent OFAC Actions, May 24, 2011

U.S. State Department, Fact sheet (on Iran sanctions), May 24, 2011

U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Ros-Lehtinen Introduces New Sanctions Measures Targeting Rogue Regimes, June 6, 2011

Letter from Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to the U.S. Treasury Department, July 29, 2011

Interview with Brad Goehner, spokesman for U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Aug. 24, 2011

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