USA*Engage Urges “Careful and Thorough Consideration” of Iran Sanctions

Friday, 31 March 2006
“The issue of Iran is understandably emotional, but it is the responsibility of Congress to ensure that this proposed bill is given careful and thorough consideration,” said Reinsch.  “Congress must not act in ways that harm our relations with allies or limit the President’s ability to conduct foreign policy.”

USA*Engage raised concerns over the potential foreign policy consequences of the bill, as it would go farther towards requiring the United States to impose sanctions extraterritorially on foreign firms operating in Iran, a move that could seriously harm relations with other countries and limits the ability of the President to conduct foreign policy.  At the same time, the group cautioned against the expanded reach of the sanctions, which would make international complaints and private lawsuits contesting the legality of these sanctions much more likely.

Reinsch also expressed concern over a push to remove a provision limiting the duration of U.S. sanctions.  “The sunset review that was built into the original sanctions on Iran is a crucial tool that allows Congress to periodically review the sanctions to ensure that they are achieving their goals,” he continued.  “We urge Congress to listen to the concerns that were raised during the markup and reinstate this important protection.”

These comments came in the wake of a hearing by the House International Relations Committee to markup H.R. 282, the Iran Freedom Support Act, on March 15.

USA*Engage also announced the release of a new fact-sheet on the Iran Freedom Support Act, available at www.usaengage.org, which outlines the group’s concerns in broader detail.

USA*Engage (www.usaengage.org) is a coalition of small and large businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations working to seek alternatives to the proliferation of unilateral U.S. foreign policy sanctions and to promote the benefits of U.S. engagement abroad. Established in 1997 and organized under the National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org), USA*Engage leads a campaign to inform policy-makers, opinion-leaders, and the public about the counterproductive nature of unilateral sanctions, the importance of exports and overseas investment for American competitiveness and jobs, and the role of American companies in promoting human rights and democracy world wide.