WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) today sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging the administration to strengthen its position in dealing with Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. The following is the text of the letter:
Dear Secretary Clinton,
We write to you concerned by reports that the Iranian regime is once again expressing support for the prospect of negotiations with the P5 +1, and some of our international partners seem to believe Tehran is finally serious. The Iranian government has a long history of saying it is willing to talk with the West about its illegal nuclear weapons program in order to gain a reprieve from sanctions, only to fail to make any effort to comply with its international nonproliferation obligations and United National Security Council Resolution mandates. We cannot allow the regime to once again profit from this bait-and-switch.
Just last week IAEA Director General Amano remarked that Iran's continued stalling "hampers the inspection process." Also, the latest report on Iran by the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency states that Iran has now accumulated at least two bombs' worth of low-enriched uranium. Recent reports from the IAEA have made clear Iran has accumulated far more know how in warhead design that was previously known. Iran is coming ever closer to a nuclear weapons capability.
We urge the Administration to take a firm position that until Iran agrees to halt all uranium enrichment, which is occurring in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolutions, and is fully in compliance with its IAEA safeguards commitments, the Administration will relentlessly pursue the strengthening of the web of sanctions against the regime.
We urge your Department, and we hope you will urge the rest of the Administration, to ensure, consistent with the new sanctions law passed by both Houses of Congress with virtual unanimity, and signed into law in July, that it will promptly:
- penalize those companies that are continuing to supply Iran with refined petroleum products since you signed CISADA into law. According to press reports, these would include Turkey's Turpas, and China's Sinopec, National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), and Zhuhai Zhenrong.
- designate banks, pursuant to the rule promulgated by the Treasury Department in July, to ensure Iranian banks are not able to participate in the international banking system.
- impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran, also known as Bank Markazi, which for years has served as a channel for Iranian business and banks blacklisted by sanctions to access foreign markets, including markets in the U.S. and Europe.
- prohibit companies that export sensitive communications jamming or monitoring technology to Iran, from entering into procurement contracts with the federal government.
- submit the required report on individuals in the Iranian government and government-affiliated organizations who are involved in the abuses of the Iranian people, and then impose sanctions on those individuals.
These, and other, new sanctions should be used to fullest extent possible, and in concert, with existing sanctions on investment in Iran's energy sector. For example, last year the China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) reportedly replaced the Japanese firm Inpex and agreed to invest around $2 billion to develop the South Azadegan fields. CNPC and its subsidiary companies have also reportedly shipped gasoline to Iran and signed agreements to invest billions in other areas of Iran's energy sector.This activity clearly violates the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), even before the new law was enacted, and the administration should penalize CNPC, and other Chinese entities, for helping Iran evade international pressure and undermine the cooperation we've obtained from allies like Japan and South Korea.
You have often stated that an Iran with nuclear weapons is unacceptable. We agree, yet we see that the window to stop the Iranian regime from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability through sanctions is rapidly closing. We must do everything in our power to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability and keep this capability out of the hands of the violent extremist in Tehran. We must urge our allies to resist any false entreaty to negotiate from Iran. You will have the full support of the Congress in doing all that's necessary to prevent a nuclear armed Iran.
JON KYL CHARLES E. SCHUMER
United States Senator United States Senator
CC: The Honorable Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury
The Honorable Gary Locke, Secretary of Commerce