H.R. 1905: Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011

H.R. 1905

Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011

Date
December 14, 2011 (112th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, December 13, 2011, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 1905 under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage.  The resolution was introduced by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) on May 13, 2011 and referred to the Committees on Foreign Affairs, Financial Services, Judiciary, and Ways & Means.  The Committee on Foreign Affairs held a mark-up session on November 2, 2011 and approved the legislation, as amended, by unanimous consent.

Bill Summary

H.R. 1905 would declare that it is U.S. policy to deny Iran the ability to support acts of foreign terrorist organizations and develop unconventional weapons and ballistic missiles.

The bill would also urge the President to initiate diplomatic efforts to expand the multilateral sanctions regime regarding Iran and would direct the President to initiate an investigation into the imposition of sanctions upon receipt of credible information that a person is engaged in a sanctionable activity under the Act.

The bill would also direct the President to impose specified sanctions on a person who knowingly:

(1)   makes specified investments with respect to Iran's ability to develop petroleum resources;

(2)   sells, leases, or provides to Iran goods, services, technology, information, or support that could facilitate Iran's domestic production of refined petroleum products;

(3)   sells or provides to Iran refined petroleum products, or provides goods, services, technology, information, or support that could contribute to Iran's ability to import refined petroleum products; or

(4)   exports or otherwise facilitated transshipment to Iran of any goods, services, technology, or other items that would contribute to Iran's ability to acquire or develop chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons, or acquire or develop destabilizing numbers and types of advanced conventional weapons.

The bill would set forth exceptions to such sanctions for:

(1)   the procurement of certain defense articles or services;

(2)   eligible products to designated countries or instrumentalities;

(3)   products, technology, or services under contracts entered into before the date on which the President publishes in the Federal Register the name of the person on which the sanctions are to be imposed;

(4)   spare or component parts, or information and technology that are essential to U.S. products or production, and related servicing and maintenance; or

(5)   medicines, medical supplies, or other humanitarian items.

The bill would define sanctions to include: prohibitions on Export-Import Bank assistance,  prohibitions on loans from U.S. financial institutions and other financial services,  prohibitions on foreign exchange and other banking transactions, prohibitions on property transactions, and export and procurement sanctions.

Additionally, the bill would authorize the Secretary of State to issue, upon request, an advisory opinion with respect to whether a proposed activity would be sanctionable, and would authorize a person to rely in good faith on such opinion and proceed without being subject to sanctions.

The bill would impose sanctions under this Act for at least two years and would authorize the President to terminate sanctions after one year if the sanctioned person is no longer engaging in a sanctionable activity and the President has received reliable assurances that the person will not knowingly engage in such future activity.

The bill would authorize the President to waive imposition of sanctions if in the national security interest of the United States.

The bill would state that a determination to impose sanctions under this Act shall not be reviewable in any court.

The bill would repeal the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996.

The bill would also authorize the President to provide financial and political assistance to certain foreign and domestic type individuals, organizations, and entities that support democracy in Iran.

The bill would impose visa, property, and financial sanctions on persons identified as officials of the government of Iran, security services, or the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) who were complicit in the commission of serious human rights abuses against citizens of Iran or their family members on or after June 12, 2009, regardless of whether such abuses occurred in Iran.

The bill would direct the Secretary of State to submit an annual report to Congress regarding the promotion of Internet freedom and information access in Iran.

The bill would also impose specified sanctions on a person that knowingly assisted in the exportation of petroleum, oil, or natural gas produced by the IRGC or its affiliates.

The bill would block the U.S. property interests of foreign persons or their affiliates that have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of violence threatening the peace or economic stability of Iraq or Afghanistan.

The bill would direct the President to develop a National Strategy to Counter Iran.

The bill would amend the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 to direct the Secretary of the Treasury to require any person owned or controlled by a domestic financial institution to certify that such person is not engaged in corresponding relations or business activity with the IRGC.

The bill would require a report on the Central Bank of Iran's activities to facilitate Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear missile capacities and promote terrorism.

The bill would amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to require securities issuers to disclose in their mandatory annual or quarterly reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) whether they or their affiliates have:

(1)   engaged in certain activities relating to Iran, terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction;

(2)   knowingly engaged in specified activities, or knowingly violated certain regulations prescribed under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010;

(3)   knowingly conducted any transaction or dealing with a person whose property and interests in property are blocked by certain Executive Orders; or

(4)   knowingly conducted a transaction or dealing with any person listed in the Iranian Transactions Regulations.

The bill would also require the President to initiate an investigation into the possible imposition of sanctions when the SEC receives a report that an issuer or its affiliate has engaged in the cited activities, as well as to determine whether sanctions should be imposed on the issuer or the affiliate concerned.

The bill would states that, except to meet U.S. international obligations, the Secretary of State shall deny a visa to, and the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) shall exclude from U.S. entry, a person who is an agent, official, or a representative of the government of Iran, and presents a threat to the United States or is affiliated with terrorist organizations. The bill would restrict the movement of such persons in the United States.

Lastly, the bill would terminate the provisions of the Act when Iran:

(1)   has dismantled its efforts to develop or acquire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons;

(2)   no longer provides support for acts of international terrorism; and

(3)   poses no threat to U.S. national security, interests, or allies.

Background

According to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, H.R. 1905, which enjoys the support of 358 cosponsors, updates and replaces previous Iran sanctions laws to ensure that current law vigorously addresses the multiple threats posed by Iran. 

“The Iranian regime’s Achilles’ heel is its energy sector,” Committee Chairman Ros-Lehtinen said. “The Iran Threat Reduction Act is designed to clamp new and tougher sanctions on Iran’s energy sector, threatening the regime’s existence if it refuses to halt its nuclear weapons program.”

The bill closes loopholes in energy and financial sanctions and counters the regime’s efforts to evade them. The bill also targets the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and senior Iranian regime officials. 

Ros-Lehtinen noted recent comments by Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad publicly acknowledging the effectiveness of sanctions. “Our banks cannot make international transactions anymore,” Ahmadinejad told the Iranian parliament. Still, “We must move quickly to tighten existing sanctions and add new and tougher ones, as we are doing today,” Ros-Lehtinen said.

Cost

There is no CBO cost estimate available for this bill.