Proposed Legislation Seeks To Amend and Expand Iran Sanctions Act of 1996

Proposed legislation is currently pending in Congress which, if signed into law, will amend and expand the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, imposing sanctions on individuals and companies aiding Iran in developing petroleum resources and products. The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act (S.2799) was passed by the Senate on January 28, 2010 and will now be referred to a committee in the House of Representatives before the House will vote on the Bill. The Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (H.R. 2194), a companion bill that was passed in the House of Representatives in December 2009, has now been referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

Each of these bills would sanction individuals or companies that have knowingly made investments of USD 20 million or more that "directly and significantly contributes" to the enhancement of Iran's ability to develop petroleum resources. The legislation would similarly sanction individuals who knowingly sell, lease or provide to Iran any goods, services, technology, information or support worth USD 200,000 or more (or has an aggregate value of USD 1,000,000 or more during a 12-month period) which would allow Iran to maintain/expand its domestic production of refined petroleum products. The proposed bills would apply to anyindividual or company underwriting or otherwise providing insurance or reinsurance for such goods, services, etc.; who finances or brokers the sale, lease or provision of such goods or services; provides ships or shipping services to deliver refined petroleum products to Iran. The definitions of petroleum products are also expanded by the bills. The sanctions that could be imposed include prohibition of any transactions in foreign exchange by the sanctioned person; prohibition of any banking transactions involving any interest of the sanctioned person; and prohibition of any person from entering into any transactions with respect to any property in which the sanctioned person has an interest.

Although the Senate has passed Bill Number S.2799, the bill must now be voted on in the House of Representatives before it may be presented to President Obama and signed into law. The Senate has only just recently passed this Bill (on January 28, 2010) and it has not yet been referred to a committee in the House of Representatives. Likewise, Bill Number H.R.2194 must be considered by the referred Committee and put to a vote by the Senate before it can be signed into law by the President. It is unclear how long this process will take (or if the bills will make it beyond the committee stage and put to a vote of the House/Senate). Similar bills have been introduced in previous sessions of Congress and died at the committee stage.

If the bill(s) are passed and signed into law by the President, the will likely go into effect sixty (60) days from their date(s) of enactment.

Read a copy of HR.2194 - Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009

Read a copy of S.2799 - Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and Divestment Act

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