WASHINGTON, DC—Legislation Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) helped pass late yesterday will extend and expand the current sanctions against Iran to pressure the country into suspending its nuclear weapons program. Congressman Himes is a cosponsor of the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (H.R. 2194), which passed the U.S. House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support.

“Iran must suspend its illegal nuclear proliferation program. As the President chooses the best course of action to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power, this bill will ensure he has the full range of tools at his disposal,” said Congressman Himes. “While our ultimate hope is that diplomacy can succeed in convincing Iran to suspend its nuclear enrichment program, this bill strengthens the President’s hand in dealing with perhaps our most pressing national security threat.”

This bill strengthens existing laws regarding Iran sanctions as well as the enforcement and implementation of those sanctions. Under current law, the Iran Sanctions Act (PL 109-293) would expire on December 31, 2011; this bill extends the ISA through December 31, 2016.

In amending the ISA, this bill mandates that any company be barred from the U.S. market if it:

  • Sells, leases, or provides Iran any goods, services, technology, information or support that would allow Iran to maintain or expand its domestic production of refined petroleum products; or
  • Provides Iran with refined petroleum products or engages in an activity that could contribute to Iran’s ability to import refined petroleum resources.

This bill also closes existing loopholes in the Iran Sanctions Act regarding investigations of sanctionable activities and subsequent determinations. It requires the President to investigate a company upon receipt of credible information that such company is engaged in sanctionable activity and to make a determination within 180 days of commencing such an investigation as to whether the company is, in fact, engaged in sanctionable activity. Currently, the President is not required to commence or conclude an investigation, or even to make a determination regarding sanctionable activities.