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Trade Restrictions Not Answer to Iran

Posted by Jill Marie Parillo on March 5, 2009

Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), the Senate's Republican whip, offered up an amendment to the Omnibus Bill today which would push Iran one step closer to total isolation from the international community. It is doubtful that any amendments will be passed, since if they did, the House would have to reconsider the Bill.

This Amendment could hurt relations with U.S. allies by signaling out large companies in those nations.  For example, France's Total (TOTF.PA) is about to finalize a $5 billion deal with Iran on March 20 to develop further the South Pars gas field.
Proposed Amendment text:

SA 634. Mr. KYL (for himself and Mr. VITTER) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill H.R. 1105, making omnibus appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

At the appropriate place, insert the following:

Sec. __. (a) Except as provided under subsection (b), none of the funds made available under this Act may be spent by a Federal agency in a new contract or other expenditure of Federal funds with a company identified by the Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as having a business presence in Iran's energy sector, including Iran's refineries, refined petroleum products, and oil and natural gas fields.

(b) The President may waive the application of subsection (a), on a case-by-case basis, if the President--

(1) determines that such waiver is necessary for the national security interests of the United States; and

(2) submits an unclassified report to Congress, with a classified annex if necessary, that describes the reasons such waiver is necessary.

Many Senators are voicing concerns over advancements in Iran's nuclear program, but this is not the answer. Pushing Iran into further isolation, through trade restrictions, will increase tension in Iran's relations with the West, increasing the threat Iran perceives from the West and the chance that Iran will build the bomb as a security assurance.

Increasing trade and direct dialogue with Iran will assist in bringing Iran back into the international community, decreasing tension in Iran's relations with the West, the threat Iran perceives from the West and the chance that Iran will build the bomb.

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