Iran General NewsUS Congress considers further Iranian penalties

US Congress considers further Iranian penalties

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Reuters: Iran’s trading partners are scrambling to comply with the latest U.S. sanctions against Iran. If countries such as China, India and South Korea do not cut down on their Iranian oil imports by mid-year when the U.S. sanctions go into effect, their financial institutions could be blocked from U.S. markets.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iran’s trading partners are scrambling to comply with the latest U.S. sanctions against Iran. If countries such as China, India and South Korea do not cut down on their Iranian oil imports by mid-year when the U.S. sanctions go into effect, their financial institutions could be blocked from U.S. markets.

But U.S. lawmakers are considering additional legislation that would increase pressure on Iran to stop developing its nuclear program, which the West contends is being used to acquire atomic weapons.

It is unclear when Congress will start debating whether to approve the additional penalties. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said a package of sanctions proposed by the banking committee may soon be advanced but he said he does not want to consider additional amendments.

Below is a list of measures lawmakers have introduced. Most aim to punish foreign companies for dealing with Iran in any capacity.

SENATE BANKING BILL

* The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, would be forced to block all Iranian banks from using its network to help transfer funds electronically. SWIFT so far has only expelled Iranian banks that have been blacklisted by the European Union for helping Iran finance its nuclear program.

* President Barack Obama would be given a deadline to determine whether Iran’s main shipping and tanker companies, the National Iranian Tanker Company and the National Iranian Oil Company, have links to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps which would lead to sanctions.

* Sanctions companies involved in energy-related joint ventures with Iran anywhere in the world established after 2002.

* Punishes U.S. parent companies whose foreign subsidiaries do business with Iran.

* Requires companies traded on U.S. exchanges to disclose business done with Iran in public filings.

OTHER PROPOSALS

* Companies would be blocked from U.S. markets if they deal with or provide any kind of service to an Iranian energy company.

* Companies that provide shipping insurance would be cut off from the U.S. financial system if they continued to insure deals involving oil and gas investments and shipments with Iran.

* Ships would be banned from U.S. ports if they had recently landed in Iran, North Korea or Syria. The House bill would deny entry to ships that had been to the countries within the previous 2 years and a Senate proposal would set a 180-day time frame.

* European and Asian banks with U.S. accounts would be forced to directly report to the U.S. Treasury their transactions with Iranian financial institutions. (Roberta Rampton, Rachelle Younglai)

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