The House is Standing Up to Iran

Dec 14, 2017 | COMMUNICATIONS •

“Iran is the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism and continues to play a destructive and destabilizing role in the world. I commend Rep. Poliquin and Rep. Williams for introducing legislation that enhances the Treasury Department’s reporting requirements to Congress so that we can be better equipped to stop Iran’s ability to money launder and finance terror.”

House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers

In case you’re too busy, here’s a quick summary:

  • The U.S. Department of State classifies Iran as the world’s “foremost state sponsor of terrorism.”
  • Nearly one third of Iran’s economy is controlled by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) who are infamously known to fund terrorist activity.
  • The U.S. should not continue to engage in blind business with a state so involved with illicit activity.
  • The House has passed two bills to increase oversight and transparency in any future business the U.S. undertakes with Iran.

The U.S. Department of State classifies Iran as the world’s “foremost state sponsor of terrorism” and a country of “primary concern” for money laundering. Iran’s top political, military, and business leaders — if there is any distinction between them — fund much of the country’s terrorist-related activity through intricate financial arrangements which allow for great flexibility in moving money.

It’s important to understand how the hierarchy of power works in Iran. President Rouhani, with whom President Obama orchestrated the Iran nuclear deal, doesn’t control the economy and distribution of funds. The truth is, financial power lies with the  IRGC and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, actors who are infamously known to fund terrorist activity.

These “bonyads” (foundations) controlled by top political and military leaders control approximately one-third of Iran’s economy, giving the IRGC and its leaders vast funds to support terrorism and terrorist proxies like Hezbollah.

Furthermore, under the Iran nuclear deal, certain sanctions were lifted from the passenger airline, Iran Air, which has been used repeatedly to transport rockets, missiles, and other military cargo on behalf of the IRGC to nations like Syria. This means that Iran is using civilian planes for military purposes, and thanks to the Iran nuclear deal, we are the ones providing these passenger planes to the Iranian government.

The U.S. cannot and will not continue to blindly operate and do business with such a hostile state that is clearly involved in illicit activity. We must have abundant oversight any time the Treasury authorizes business with Iran.

This week the House took action to achieve that goal.

This week, the House passed two bills that deal directly with asset transparency and increased oversight of Iran’s access to financing. This is in addition to previous bills passed this year by the House that deal directly with Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities.

Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act (H.R. 1638)

This bipartisan legislation will publicize the assets associated with Iran’s tyrannical regime. In effect, this will require the Department of Treasury to submit a report to Congress that highlights how various Iranian controlled assets were acquired and used by top political and military leaders. This report would be publicly available in English as well as the primary languages used in Iran as to inform the average Iranian about the extent of their government’s corruption and illicit activities. This is especially valuable considering the dissemination of news is controlled by top government officials.

By combining publicly available information with U.S. intelligence that can be made public, we can provide a valuable window into the corrupt business practices of Iran’s top kleptocrats.

Strengthening Oversight of Iran’s Access to Finance Act (H.R. 4324)

This bill, similar to the previous, will require the Secretary of the Treasury to submit a report to Congress that highlights any transactions in connection with the export or re-export of aircraft to Iran. The report will list financial institutions who have engaged in such business, as well as certify that listed transactions do not benefit any Iranian actor involved in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

This will hold the Ayatollahs accountable for their illicit activities and protect the U.S. financial system while the Trump administration continues to review the Iran nuclear deal.  

The institutionalized corruption of Iran, along with its reputation for state-sponsored terrorism, cannot be ignored. Iran continues to be one of the most hostile, capable, and methodical threats to the U.S. and our allies.

The House’s action to curb Iran’s missile capabilities, and now also to publicize its impropriety, are vital steps to ensuring the safety and security of the American people.

We want to hear from you about our work. Take 30 seconds and tell us what you think about our efforts to protect our country from the threat posed by Iran.

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