Administration Must Ramp Up the Pressure to Prevent a Nuclear Iran As Treasury Enforces Tougher Sanctions, Ros-Lehtinen Says

Feb 6, 2013 Issues: Foreign Affairs

(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, released the following statement today on the Department of Treasury’s announcement that it will begin implementing provisions of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act (ITRSHRA). Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“I applaud the Department of Treasury for taking significant measures to enforce sanctions on Iran in an effort to halt the regime’s pursuit of nuclear weapons capability by restricting Iran’s access to oil revenues. In addition, today’s announcement calls attention to Tehran’s record of continued abuse of human rights by sanctioning entities that are involved in censoring free flow of information in Iran.

These sanctions will go in effect at a critical time as reports indicate that Iran has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency of its plans to install additional, more sophisticated, centrifuges to greatly accelerate its uranium processing program. Over the last few weeks we have witnessed material destined for Iran’s nuclear program intercepted in Spain as well as a vessel carrying weapons en route to Yemen from Iran, which illustrate the willingness by the Iranian regime to rapidly accelerate its nuclear program, arm extremists, and destabilize the Middle East.   

Preventing the Iranian regime from acquiring nuclear weapons capability is among the gravest national security challenges facing our country. The provisions of the Iran and Syria law will only work if the Administration is willing to vigorously enforce them and stop providing a free pass to entities for their ongoing business dealings with Tehran.”

NOTE: Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen was the author of ITRSHRA in the last Congress, which passed overwhelmingly in both the House and Senate on August 1, 2012, and signed into law on August 10, 2012. It updates and replaces previous Iran sanctions by closing loopholes in energy and financial sanctions that are in place now and counters the regime’s efforts to evade them, including by targeting the Central Bank of Iran. The bill also focuses on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and senior Iranian regime officials.