Iran Sanctions

Iran Sanctions

March 31, 2011 | By Keith Martin in Washington, DC

Iran sanctions will get more attention in Congress.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is working on a bill to tighten US sanctions further in the wake of charges by critics that a 2010 law imposing additional sanctions still has too many loopholes that allow companies to continue doing business with Iran. The 2010 law was a compromise between sanctions hawks in Congress and the Obama administration, which wanted flexibility to impose sanctions in individual cases, particularly against businesses in allied countries.

The administration has used the 2010 law to sanction just one company—Naftiran, a Swiss-based subsidiary of the Iranian national oil company that has entered into joint ventures with a number of European oil companies to import oil into Iran. The company had $21.9 billion in revenues in 2008.

The House may replace the word “should” take certain actions with “shall immediately” do so.

It could also require public companies to report any potentially sanctionable investments in Iran in quarterly and annual reports to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Any bill would also have to pass the Senate, which has been less critical of the administration’s efforts.

Keith Martin