Saturday, August 4, 2012

New Iran sanctions

Behind-the-scenes bipartisanship occurred last week as Congress rapidly passed and sent to the president a new law with tougher sanctions on Iran. As reported by Foreign Policy's Josh Rogin, the bill was worked out by the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R-FL], and the chair of the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Tim Johnson [D-SD] (whose panel has jurisdiction over sanctions legislation because most sanctions apply to financial services institutions). The White House reportedly participated in the discussions. What's most interesting to me is the number of proposals not accepted in the final bill, including amendments that would have penalized directors of he international financial transaction clearinghouse SWIFT or that would have barred any dealings with the Iranian petroleum sector by outside entities.  My sense is that some of those rejected amendments would have been "feel good" measures that have counter-productive unintended consequences. Here's the bill as passed.

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