Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Iran: Pelosi on Iran Sanctions Act

Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor in strong support of the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act, which would give the President the power to impose sanctions against companies that supply Iran with -- or support its domestic production of -- gasoline and other refined petroleum products. The House passed the bill by a vote of 412 to 12.

"Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in strong support for the Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act and I would like to thank the great leadership of our Chairman -- Chairman Berman and Ranking Member Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen for their efforts and leadership to bring this legislation to the floor.

"All Members of Congress, regardless of party, agree: a nuclear Iran is simply unacceptable. It is a threat to the region, to the United States, and to the world.

"The American people have great hopes for our friendship with the people of Iran. We look forward to the day when Iran is a much more productive member of the community of nations. Until that day though, we must ensure that Iran is prevented from obtaining nuclear weapons that would threaten the security of the world.

"Iran must take the necessary steps to demonstrate its willingness to live as a peaceful partner in the international community. And we must use all of the tools at our disposal -- from diplomacy to sanctions -- to stop Iran's march toward nuclear capability.

"Today, with this legislation, we give the President a new option, a new tool -- the power to impose sanctions against companies that supply Iran with, or support its domestic production of gasoline and other refined petroleum products.

"By targeting Iran's ongoing dependence on largely imported refined petroleum, we reduce the chance that Iran will acquire the capacity to produce nuclear weapons.

"A pillar, Mr. Speaker, of our national security is diplomacy. And in the case of Iran, we must use it. We must exhaust every diplomatic remedy. I commend President Obama for standing with other UN Security Council leaders earlier this year to condemn Iran and to work toward an agreeable diplomatic solution to end Iran's development and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

"However, as we have seen, Iran has refused to accept the reasonable offer that was put on the table a couple of months ago. Instead, it has reiterated its resolve to continue its uranium enrichment program, the cornerstone of its nuclear program. The international community must therefore consider stronger options.

"We have that opportunity today -- to give the President the option with a waiver to use in the best possible way. Now, I have heard the mention of the State of Israel in some of the debate today and Israel certainly has proximity to Iran. Iran is increasing its capability, both to develop a weapon of mass destruction and the capacity delivery system to deliver that bad news. But this isn't about Israel. Israel is close and this development of a weapon of mass destruction is a threat to the region. But the development of a weapon of mass destruction any place in the world is a threat to the entire world and it is not in the national security interest of the United States. So, while Israel may bear the brunt or be the closest target or target of words -- hopefully not anything else -- and they have carried this fight, but it's not just their fight. The fight is all of ours.

"I mentioned diplomacy as a pillar of our national security. Another pillar of our foreign policy and of our national security is stopping the proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction. Imagine what the reaction would be if Iran had nuclear weapons -- what that would evoke in the Arab world in terms of their interest in having weapons of mass destruction. It simply cannot happen and with this legislation today, we strengthen the President's hand to grant, to use, or to withhold this particular sanction -- but to have the capability to use diplomacy in a stronger way.

"I urge all of my colleagues to support the Iran Refined Petroleum Products Sanctions Act."

SOURCE Office of the Speaker of the House

Note: Reuters reports As the United States has stepped up pressure on companies doing business with Iran, a number of past suppliers like BP and Indian refiner Reliance have backed away from providing fuel, but imports have largely been maintained as companies like European trading firms Trafigura and Vitol, Kuwait-based International Petroleum Group and Malaysia's Petronas step into the breach, traders said.

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