Bennet Applauds Senate Passage of New Sanctions Against Iran

Legislation Would Help Deter Iran from Pursuing Nuclear Weapons

Washington, DC – Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, today applauded passage of a new, comprehensive set of sanctions against Iran.  The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 gives the President the power to enact a series of economic sanctions on companies that do business with Iran’s refined petroleum sector and banks that support the current Iranian regime.  This legislation expands the scope of sanctions already available to the President.

“Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons are a threat to our national security and the security of our allies,” said Bennet.  “We cannot stand by and let this dangerous regime acquire or develop nuclear weapons capabilities.  We need to give the President every possible tool to make the leaders of Iran reevaluate the consequences of continuing to work toward the development of nuclear weapons.”

The legislation expands upon the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) of 1996, and includes both energy and banking sanctions.  The new sanctions would target foreign companies that insure, finance, or ship refined petroleum for Iran, or assist in the development of its energy sector.  Currently, Iran imports about 35 percent of its gasoline, and the energy sector provides about 80 percent of the government’s revenues.  In addition, the new sanctions would go after banks that do business with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) or stakeholders in its nuclear weapons program.

The bill also imposes financial penalties and travel restrictions on major human rights abusers within Iran.

“This important legislation should make Iran’s leadership think twice and think hard about the consequences of pursuing a nuclear weapon,” said Bennet.  “These sanctions will supplement the recently-passed United Nations sanctions against Iran, and I am pleased that the Senate came together to pass this bill with bipartisan support.”

Last year, Bennet cosponsored a bill that comprises many of the petroleum-related provisions included in the package.  Bennet also helped pass the underlying bill of comprehensive sanctions in the Banking Committee last year as well as in the full Senate in January.