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Author Topic:   US sanctions against Iran
posted June 30, 2001 14:14     Click Here to See the Profile for Ardalan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
5-year extension of Iran sanctions moves ahead

TEHRAN, June 29 (AFP) - Citing a broad band of support for a five-year extension of sanctions on foreign firms investing in Iran and Libya, the chairman of the US Senate Banking committee on Thursday pushed the legislation forward. "There is strong support in Congress for a five year reauthorization, as 77 Senators have co-sponsored this legislation," said the chairman and Democratic Senator Paul Sarbanes.

There are 100 Senators in the upper chamber of Congress.

"I believe we should support reauthorization for a full five years. Lessening of the time frame from five to two years as some have proposed could be seen as a sign of a lack of US resolve."

The Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) aims to prevent companies from investing any more than 20 million dollars a year in either country, which the US State Department has designated state sponsors of terrorism.

Current legislation expires in August, and Congress must vote by then on whether or not to renew the measure and by how many years.

The White House had been trying to keep the renewal to only two years, arguing that a five-year extension would unnecessarily hinder the administration from altering US policy toward the two countries should Washington deem such changes warranted.

"(The Act) should allow the president sufficient flexibility to modify and terminate sanctions as conditions change," insisted Anthony Wayne, assistant secretary of state of economic and business affairs.

Republican Senator Chuck Hagel went one step further, rejecting the need for sanctions altogether.

"ILSA should not be renewed. It has no deterrent capability and is self-defeating for America," he told the committee. "ILSA cannot work. It has not worked."

Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy strongly disagreed.

"The need for the sanctions is as strong today as when they were enacted in 1996, and they deserve to be extended," he said. "I strongly support a five year extension."

One June 20, the Republican-led House International Relations committee voted to extend the sanctions for five years.

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posted July 13, 2001 18:10     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
US House panel adds review to Iran-Libya bill

WASHINGTON, July 12 (Reuters) - A second U.S. House of Representatives panel on Thursday endorsed a five-year extension of sanctions against Iran and Libya but added a review mechanism which could terminate the measures after 18 months. On a voice vote, the House Ways and Means Committee backed a renewal of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act for five years in an effort to curb foreign investment in the oil and natural gas sectors of both countries, which Washington accuses of sponsoring terrorism.

The House International Relations Committee last month voted 41-3 also to extend the sanctions for five years.

The law, due to expire in August, was enacted in 1996 to punish the two countries for what Washington believes is their support for international terrorism and efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction. The sanctions are aimed at limiting the funds they could raise for those efforts.

President George W. Bush has urged Congress to approve just a two-year extension of the legislation, arguing a five-year extension would tie his hands on dealing with the two countries through the end of his term.

Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas, a California Republican, acknowledged the sanctions are aimed "at a very real problem" but said they have been ineffective in changing Iranian and Libyan behavior.

The Ways and Means panel amendment would require a report on the cost and effectiveness of the sanctions 18 months after the enactment of the five-year extension.

"Congress would then be able to reevaluate the legislation" and decide whether to continue the sanctions, Thomas said.

The bill gives the president the authority to impose a variety of sanctions on foreign companies that invest more than $20 million a year in either Iran's or Libya's energy sector.

In the case of Libya, that's down from a $40 million dollar limit currently.

The five-year extension appears headed to easy passage in both chambers. More than 240 House members and 74 senators have signed on to bills extending the sanctions for five years. The Senate has not taken up the issue yet.

Critics of the effort to reduce the length of the renewal said it would send the wrong message to Iran and Libya, giving them hope they could simply wait out the sanctions.

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