Hoeven, Bipartisan Group of Senators Introduce Iran Nuclear Sanctions Resolution

Senator Calls for Swift, Firm Implementation of Iranian Banking Sanctions

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Hoeven and a bipartisan group of senators today held a press conference announcing their introduction of a formal resolution urging the U.S. to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.

Hoeven and others urged the Administration to quickly implement sanctions passed by Congress in the Defense Authorization bill passed in December that would bar any country or company that does business with the Iranian Central Bank from doing business with the United States banking system. Iran receives payments for its oil sales through the Iranian Central Bank so this sanction would prevent companies and countries from being able to pay for Iranian oil, unless they were willing to not do business with the United States banking system. The sanctions would therefore make it very difficult for Iran to sell its oil to countries throughout the world, and without oil sales, Iran would have no revenue. The impact on their economy would force Iran to discontinue their nuclear ambitions.

“Under the legislation we passed, we provide that other countries and companies can’t do business with Iran and our banking system,” Hoeven said at the news conference. “This is a very powerful tool and needs to be used to the fullest extent, because the other option is military action. I understand this is difficult for other countries, but clearly for all of us the difficulty of dealing with this diplomatically is far better than military action. We need the administration to fully implement these sanctions to the full extent of our ability.”

In addition to Hoeven, the bipartisan resolution was introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Robert Casey (D-Penn.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), John Boozman (R-Ariz.), James Inhofe (R-Ariz.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

The resolution announced today affirms that it is a U.S. vital national interest to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It warns that limited time remains to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon, and urges economic and diplomatic pressure be applied until Iran proves it is not pursuing nuclear weapons.

The resolution supports the rights and democratic aspirations of the Iranian people. Further, it rejects any policy that settles for containing a nuclear Iran instead of preventing the Iranian government from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Finally, it urges the President to reaffirm that an Iran with nuclear weapons is unacceptable.

“A nuclear weapons-capable Iran would undermine the security of the entire Middle East, represent a real threat to the State of Israel and spur nuclear programs in several other countries in the region,” Hoeven said. “This resolution makes it clear that we must prevent that from happening, and one of the things the President could do is speed up the sanctions Congress approved in December. We need to freeze Iran’s Central Bank out of the world’s banking system as soon as possible and we need policies that back up our conviction that Iran cannot and must not have a nuclear weapon.”