Tag Archives: Iranian government

Senators caution Obama: No concessions for Iran

SENATE RESOLUTION 380–TO EXPRESS THE SENSE OF THE SENATE REGARDING THE IMPORTANCE OF PREVENTING THE GOVERNMENT OF IRAN FROM ACQUIRING NUCLEAR WEAPONS CAPABILITY — (Senate – February 16, 2012)

Mr. GRAHAM (for himself, Mr. Lieberman, Mr. Casey, Ms. Ayotte, Mr. Blumenthal, Mr. Boozman, Mr. Brown of Massachusetts, Mr. Brown of Ohio, Mr. Cardin, Mr. Chambliss, Mr. Coats, Ms. Collins, Mr. Coons, Mr. Cornyn, Mrs. Gillibrand, Mr. Hatch, Mr. Heller, Mr. Hoeven, Mrs. Hutchison, Mr. Inhofe, Mr. McCain, Mrs. McCaskill, Mr. Menendez, Ms. Mikulski, Mr. Nelson of Florida, Mr. Nelson of Nebraska, Mr. Portman, Mr. Pryor, Mr. Risch, Mr. Schumer, Mr. Udall of Colorado, Mr. Wyden, Ms. Snowe, Mr. Vitter, Mr. Isakson, and Mr. Sessions) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations:

S. Res. 380

Whereas since at least the late 1980s, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has engaged in a sustained and well-documented pattern of illicit and deceptive activities to acquire nuclear capability;

Whereas the United Nations Security Council has adopted multiple resolutions since 2006 demanding the full and sustained suspension of all uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities by the Iranian Government and its full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on all outstanding issues related to its nuclear activities, particularly those concerning the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program;

Whereas on November 8, 2011, the IAEA issued an extensive report that–

(1) documents “serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme”;

(2) states that “Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device”; and

(3) states that the efforts described in paragraphs (1) and (2) may be ongoing;

Whereas as of November 2008, Iran had produced, according to the IAEA–

(1) approximately 630 kilograms of uranium-235 enriched to 3.5 percent; and

(2) no uranium-235 enriched to 20 percent;

Whereas as of November 2011, Iran had produced, according to the IAEA–

(1) nearly 5,000 kilograms of uranium-235 enriched to 3.5 percent; and

(2) 79.7 kilograms of uranium-235 enriched to 20 percent;

Whereas on January 9, 2011, IAEA inspectors confirmed that the Iranian government had begun enrichment activities at the Fordow site, including possibly enrichment of uranium-235 to 20 percent;

Whereas if Iran were successful in acquiring a nuclear weapon capability, it would likely spur other countries in the region to consider developing their own nuclear weapons capabilities;

Whereas on December 6, 2011, Prince Turki al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia stated that if international efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons fail, “we must, as a duty to our country and people, look into all options we are given, including obtaining these weapons ourselves”;

Whereas top Iranian leaders have repeatedly threatened the existence of the State of Israel, pledging to “wipe Israel off the map”;

Whereas the Department of State–

(1) has designated Iran as a “State Sponsor of Terrorism” since 1984; and

(2) has characterized Iran as the “most active state sponsor of terrorism”;

Whereas Iran has provided weapons, training, funding, and direction to terrorist groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah, and Shiite militias in Iraq that are responsible for the murders of hundreds of American forces and innocent civilians;

Whereas on July 28, 2011, the Department of the Treasury charged that the Government of Iran had forged a “secret deal” with al Qaeda to facilitate the movement of al Qaeda fighters and funding through Iranian territory;

Whereas in October 2011, senior leaders of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force were implicated in a terrorist plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States on United States soil;

Whereas on December 26, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution denouncing the serious human rights abuses occurring in the Islamic Republic of Iran, including torture, cruel and degrading treatment in detention, the targeting of human rights defenders, violence against women, and “the systematic and serious restrictions on freedom of peaceful assembly” as well as severe restrictions on the rights to “freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief”;

Whereas President Obama, through the P5+1 process, has made repeated efforts to engage the Iranian Government in dialogue about Iran’s nuclear program and its international commitments under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Whereas on March 31, 2010, President Obama stated that the “consequences of a nuclear-armed Iran are unacceptable”;

Whereas in his State of the Union Address on January 24, 2012, President Obama stated: “Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal”;

Whereas Secretary of Defense Panetta stated, in December 2011, that it was unacceptable for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, reaffirmed that all options were on the table to thwart Iran’s nuclear weapons efforts, and vowed that if the United States gets “intelligence that they are proceeding with developing a nuclear weapon then we will take whatever steps necessary to stop it”;

Whereas the Defense Department’s January 2012 Strategic Guidance stated that U.S. defense efforts in the Middle East would be aimed “to prevent Iran’s development of a nuclear weapons capability and counter its destabilizing policies”;

Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate–

(1) affirms that it is a vital national interest of the United States to prevent the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability;

(2) warns that time is limited to prevent the Iranian government from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability;

(3) urges continued and increasing economic and diplomatic pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran to secure an agreement from the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran that includes–

(A) the full and sustained suspension of all uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities;

(B) complete cooperation with the IAEA on all outstanding questions related to Iran’s nuclear activities, including–

(i) the implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Additional Protocol; and

(ii) the verified end of Iran’s ballistic missile programs; and

(C) a permanent agreement that verifiably assures that Iran’s nuclear program is entirely peaceful;

(4) expresses support for the universal rights and democratic aspirations of the Iranian people;

(5) strongly supports United States policy to prevent the Iranian Government from acquiring nuclear weapons capability;

(6) rejects any United States policy that would rely on efforts to contain a nuclear weapons-capable Iran; and

(7) urges the President to reaffirm the unacceptability of an Iran with nuclear-weapons capability and oppose any policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.

………………………………………………………………………………..

The senators’ tough stance reflects growing concerns among foreign policy hawks that the Obama administration could soften its position on Iranian enrichment in an effort to relaunch talks that were last held – and which got nowhere – more than a year ago.

Administration critics see a redrawing of the administration’s red lines on Iranian enrichment: They note that in 2009 Secretary Clinton flatly rejected Iran maintaining any enrichment capabilities, while in recent statements her position has become more nuanced.

A recent formula offered by Clinton speaks of guaranteeing the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program while respecting Iran’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear technology “consistent with its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

Some senators fear that position would leave the door open to Iran maintaining some level of enrichment activity while talks took place.

 

EU sanctions against Iran

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Here is an outline of EU sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. New sanctions were imposed Monday.

MONDAY’S STEPS

A ban on the transport, purchase and import into Europe of Iranian crude oil and petroleum products and related finance and insurance. Contracts already concluded can be executed until July 1 and the measures will be reviewed before May 1.

The sanctions also ban the export of key technology for the energy sector and new investment in Iranian petrochemical firms and joint ventures with these companies.

The EU also froze the assets of the Iran‘s central bank in the European Union and banned trade in gold, precious metals and diamonds with Iranian public bodies and the central bank.

In addition, the sanctions bar the sale to Iran of more “sensitive dual use” goods — those that can have a military or security application — and add three people to a list of those targeted by asset freezes and visa bans and freeze the assets of eight more entities.

Details of the sanctions will be published in the EU’s Official Journal Tuesday.(and here)

EXISTING SANCTIONS

The EU has gradually imposed sanctions on Iran since 2007 as part of Western efforts to put pressure on Tehran over its nuclear work. Sanctions include those agreed by the United Nations and autonomous EU measures. Current EU sanctions include:

– Trade ban on arms and equipment that can be used for repression, and a ban on goods and technology related to nuclear enrichment or nuclear weapons systems, including nuclear materials and facilities, certain chemicals, electronics, sensors and lasers, navigation and avionics;

– Ban on investment by Iranian nationals and entities in uranium mining and production of nuclear material and technology within the EU;

– Ban on trade in dual-use goods and technology, for instance telecommunication systems and equipment; information security systems and equipment; nuclear technology and low-enriched uranium;

– Export ban on key equipment and technology for the oil and gas industries (i.e. exploration and production of oil and natural gas, refining and liquefaction of natural gas). Ban on financial and technical assistance for such transactions. This includes geophysical survey equipment, drilling and production platforms for crude oil and natural gas, equipment for shipping terminals of liquefied gas, petrol pumps and storage tanks;

– Ban on investment in the Iranian oil and gas industries (exploration and production of oil and gas, refining and liquefaction of natural gas). This means no credits, loans, new investment in and joint ventures with such companies in Iran;

– Ban on new medium- or long-term commitments by EU member states to financial support for trade with Iran. Restraint on short-term commitments;

– EU governments are banned from extending grants and concessional loans to the Iranian government. Provision of insurance and re-insurance to the Iranian government and Iranian entities (except health and travel insurance) is banned;

– EU financial institutions must report to national authorities any transactions with Iranian banks they suspect concern proliferation of financing; banks must notify transfers above 10,000 euros to national authorities and request prior authorization for transactions above 40,000 euros (with humanitarian exemptions);

– Iranian banks are banned from opening branches and creating joint ventures in the EU; EU financial institutions are banned from opening branches or bank accounts in Iran;

– Ban on the issuance of and trade in Iranian government or public bonds with the Iranian government, central bank and Iranian banks;

– EU governments must require their nationals to exercise vigilance over business with entities incorporated in Iran, including those of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines;

– National customs authorities must require prior information about all cargo to and from Iran. Such cargo can be inspected to ensure trade restrictions are respected;

– Cargo flights operated by Iranian carriers or coming from Iran may not have access to EU airports (except mixed passenger and cargo flights). No maintenance services to Iranian cargo aircraft or servicing to Iranian vessels may be provided if there are suspicions that they carry prohibited goods;

– Visa bans are imposed on persons designated by the UN or associated with or providing support for Iran’s proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities or for the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems, and on senior members of the IRGC; as of January 22, visa bans and asset freezes apply to 113 persons (41 designated by the UN and the rest by the EU);

– Asset freeze on 433 entities associated with Iran’s proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities or the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems; and senior members and entities of IRGC and the IRISL (UN designations cover 75 entities); these entities include: companies in banking and insurance sectors, the nuclear technology industry and in the field of aviation, armament, electronics, shipping, chemical industry, metallurgy, the oil and gas industry, and branches and subsidiaries of IRGC and IRISL.

HUMAN RIGHTS

In addition to the nuclear track, the EU has imposed travel bans and asset freezes on 61 Iranians seen as responsible for human rights violations.

ECONOMIC RELATIONS

The EU had a free-trade agreement with Iran until 2005 and Tehran’s refusal to cooperate with the IAEA on its nuclear work. Europe remains an important trade partner. Ninety percent of EU imports from Iran are either oil or oil-related products. In 2010, the EU imported 14.5 billion euros worth of goods from Iran and exported 11.3 billion euros of goods to it.