The continued problem of U.S. companies managing to conduct business with Iran spurred state lawmakers to pass a resolution Monday.
ACR173, sponsored by John McKeon, (D-27), South Orange, Mila Jasey (D-27), South Orange, and Linda Stender, (D-22), Scotch Plains, calls on the federal government to use stronger measures to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Although President Obama signed bipartisan legislation last summer to penalize companies that lend support to Iran’s petroleum sector, there are loopholes that need to be closed, McKeon said.
The Assembly resolution unanimously approved today calls for further economic sanctions and financial divestiture, including sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran, limiting access to refined petroleum products, and enforcing current United States sanctions against energy companies that invest in Iran’s energy sector in order to increase the pressure on Iran to stop its nuclear program.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced a bipartisan bill in February which would eliminate these loopholes that allow U.S. companies to continue investing in Iran’s energy sector.
McKeon said that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear energy has nothing to do with civilian uses. “We know from international, independent groups what they are doing,’’ he said. “It’s not about the people of Iran, it’s about the leadership.”
He said Iran’s continued use of “murderous rhetoric’’ about Israel and the United States underscores the need for such a resolution to send a “powerful message” to Washington.
“It’s so easy to just lose focus,’’ McKeon said, and such resolutions help ensure that won’t happen.
“Current sanctions against Iran have had a significant impact on its economy and oil production capacity,” Stender said in a press release. “However, it hasn’t produced our intended goal of forcing Iran to abandon its nuclear program. It’s more critical than ever that the federal government step up the pressure now before it’s too late.”