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So long as Islamic Republic of Iran races toward nuclear weapons capability, sponsors terrorism violates human rights, no delay on sanctions

Senator Mark KirkSenator Kirk: So long as Islamic Republic of Iran races toward nuclear weapons capability, sponsors terrorism violates human rights, the State Department shouldn't push to delay sanctions

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today issued the following statement following U.S. State Department Under Secretary Wendy Sherman's statements urging the U.S. Senate to hold off on considering any new sanctions against Iran:

“The State Department should not aid and abet a European appeasement policy by pressuring the Senate to delay sanctions while the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism races toward a nuclear weapons capability. The international community should judge Iranian leaders by their actions, not their words. So long as Iran continues to pursue a nuclear weapons capability, build longer range ballistic missiles, sponsor terrorism around the world and abuse human rights, the Senate should impose maximum economic pressure on Iran to give diplomacy a chance to succeed.”

Background

In 2011, Sen. Kirk co-authored the Menendez-Kirk amendment, which imposed sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran and led to unprecedented economic pressure inside Iran. In 2012, Sen. Kirk authored an amendment to impose sanctions on the financial messaging providers servicing designated Iranian banks, which ultimately led the European Union to order the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) to disconnect such banks. In December 2012, the Senator again co-authored a Menendez-Kirk amendment to the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act, which blacklisted whole sectors of the Iranian economy and prohibited the sale or delivery of raw, semi-finished and precious metals to Iran.

On February 25, 2013, 36 Senators (19 Democrats and 17 Republicans, including majorities of both the Senate Foreign Relations and Banking Committees) signed a bipartisan letter to the European Union urging the EU to take immediate action to close the “euro loophole” in U.S. and EU sanctions policy. On March 23, 2013, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed an amendment to the budget supporting efforts to block Iran’s access to its foreign exchange reserves and limit the ability of designated Iranian entities like the Central Bank of Iran to conduct transactions in euros. With the EU failing to act, Sen. Kirk and Sen. Manchin introduced the Iran Sanctions Loophole Elimination Act on May 8, 2013.

Separately in May, Sen. Kirk joined Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) in introducing the Iran Export Embargo Act, S. 1001, which would prohibit the purchase or transfer of goods and services from any entity owned or controlled by the Government of Iran and banning all transactions on behalf of such entities for the purpose of exports from Iran. The bill would block all assets of entities deemed to be Government of Iran and also prohibit any insurance or reinsurance for such entities.