The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has praised a bi-partisan effort by Members of Congress to punish corporations that are ignoring US law regarding trading with Iran. Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY & Chair of House Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee), along with Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ), and Rep. Ben Chandler (D-KY) have introduced robust language into the FY10 Supplemental Appropriations Act provisions that will prohibit the awarding of federal contracts or federal funds to any company in violation of the Iran Sanctions Act. It will close a substantial loophole by clarifying that subcontractors are also covered by this ban. Rep. Ron Klein (D-FL) is spearheading a parallel effort to attach similar language to defense authorization bills. His amendment would suspend for three years business with contractors that falsely certify that they are not doing business with Iran.
Reps. Israel and Kirk, in particular, are trying to get language in all 12 appropriations bill that says: None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be obligated or expended by any Federal department or agency to provide funds to any person or entity through a contract, grant, loan, or loan guarantee unless the person or entity certifies to the Iran Sanctions Act is not being violated. According to Rep. Israel, [This legislation ] will prohibit any company from getting a penny from a U.S. contract if theyre also doing the wrong kind of business in Iran. And Im going even further by seeking to add my language to every single appropriations bill this year and in the years to come, as well.
As Rep. Rothman put it: This provision of the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010 sends a very clear message to all companies that you can either do business with the U.S. government or with the government headed by the brutish, tyrannical, and deranged President of Iran, but not both.
Daniel Pollak and Joshua London, co-directors of ZOAs Division of Government Relations in Washington, DC said: Given the bizarre state of affairs and ludicrous dynamics by which such efforts are even remotely necessary to force the United States government to comply with United States federal law, it is heartening to know that there are leaders like Reps. Israel, Rothman, Kirk, Klein, Lowey, and others, who are eager to judiciously and appropriately chastise our governments non-enforcement, and to actively create enforcement mechanisms to try and compel the Executive Branch to do the right thing. These measures are particularly welcome in light of the decision by the House/Senate Conference Committee to delay by at least a month the new round of Iran sanctions while the UN considers watered down multilateral sanctions.
The larger picture is not a good one for deterring Iran through a combination of multilateral and unilateral sanctions and diplomacy. The deal worked out with Brazil and Turkey to process less than half of Irans low-enriched uranium stockpile outside of the borders of Iran is a transparent attempt to derail more serious sanctions. The proposed UN sanctions being considered by the Security Council is a very small step in the right direction, but is more symbolic than rigorous, and will not prevent Tehran from moving forward with its nuclear program.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: Iran is a country that cannot be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon as long as it is a rogue, terrorist state, publicly calls for the destruction of both the US and Israel and bankrolls terrorists throughout the world. Iran is directly responsible for acts of terror carried out by Hamas and Hezbollah. They have exported terrorists and sophisticated weapons that have caused the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Ahmadinejad of Iran has denied the Holocaust in Europe while calling for a new holocaust in the Middle East. The slow and insufficiently crippling sanctions being considered at the UN will not stop Iran. Let us hope that these Congressional proposals signal that the US and the Western powers are finally getting serious about stopping the regime in Iran before it is too late.