FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 1, 2011
CONTACT: Genevieve Frye Rozansky
Congressman Flake Praises Senate Passage of Kirk-Menendez Amendment Targeting Central Bank of Iran
Flake Has Introduced Similar Legislation in the House
Washington, D.C., Dec 1 – Republican Congressman Jeff Flake, who represents Arizona’s Sixth District, today praised the passage of an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (S.1867) offered by Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) aimed at preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons by prohibiting foreign financial institutions that do business with the Central Bank of Iran – the financier primarily responsible for facilitating Iran’s illicit activities – from opening or maintaining correspondent operations in the United States.
The International Atomic Energy Agency issued a report on November 8th that found Iran has developed technologies and conducted research to produce nuclear weapons and deliver them. In response, the United Kingdom and Canada levied economic sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank.
“Every day that Iran has access to Western capital brings them closer to making their nuclear aspirations a reality. The Kirk-Menendez amendment will severely limit funding sources for Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and is one of the few steps remaining at our disposal to stymie this dangerous threat to the U.S., Israel and the rest of the Middle East,” said Flake.
Last week, Congressman Flake along with Congressman Mike McIntyre of North Carolina introduced H.R. 3508 which, like the Kirk-Menendez amendment, would levy economic sanctions on foreign financial institutions that conduct business with the Central Bank of Iran.
These sanctions would include a prohibition on the opening or maintenance in the U.S. of an account by a foreign institution that does business with the Central Bank of Iran and would freeze any assets in the U.S of those institutions. In an effort to avoid a dangerous spike in oil prices, transactions pertaining to petroleum would be subject to sanctions six months after the legislation takes effect. The legislation also contains a national security waiver and a provision to ensure efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to Iran are not hampered by the sanctions law.