Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (IRPSA)

The posting below is from AIPAC. This week's news of increasing defiance by Iran in the face of the world's demands only serves to increase the urgency of Congressional action on sanctions before everyone goes home for the holidays. As I've been stating again and again, right now, nothing else matters as much as this matters. We can't get sidetracked by other debates. On Iran there is no debate - or at least very little. There are many unknowns about the health care plans. But health care can always be tinkered with, no matter what bills eventually pass. There are few unknowns about what an Iranian bomb would become - the Iranians have as much as told us - an existential threat to Israel and a serious blow to American interests in the region. My hope is that the Congress won't lose sight of the need for unanimous action on Iran, despite the divisive debates going on in other areas.

Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (IRPSA) Due for House Floor Action

Call Your House Members and Urge Them to Vote Yes on IRPSA

The House of Representatives is likely to vote on the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (H.R. 2194) before departing for their December break. This important action comes at a time when Iran is refusing to seriously engage with the United States and other world powers and suspend its uranium enrichment program. Yesterday, Iran rejected the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors' November 27 resolution calling on Iran to suspend its nuclear activities, and vowed to build ten additional enrichment plants.

The legislation contains sanctions curtailing Iran 's ability to import and produce refined petroleum, measures which could be implemented if Iran rejects U.S. overtures and continues to enrich uranium in defiance of five U.N. Security Council resolutions. The legislation was introduced by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) and Ranking Member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).

Since Iran must import up to 40 percent of its refined petroleum, curtailing its access to gasoline and diesel fuel could have a severe impact on the Iranian economy, forcing the regime to confront a real choice: continue its illicit nuclear program and risk economic ruin OR suspend the program and open the door to relief from sanctions. As President Obama said, "If Iran does not take steps in the near future to live up to its obligations, then the United States will not continue to negotiate indefinitely, and we are prepared to move towards increased pressure."

Click here to view full text of the legislation.


Contact your House members and urge them to vote for the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (H.R. 2194): E-MAIL

Click here to send an e-mail to your House member through AIPAC's Take Action page.


Click here to find contact information for your House member. You will be prompted to enter your zip code. You can also reach your Representative through the Capitol switchboard at (202) 225-3121.

Sample phone script: "I am calling to ask the Representative to vote YES on the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (H.R. 2194), when it comes to the floor for a vote."
You may have the opportunity to speak with a staff person or leave a message at your member's office. In most cases, the person who answers the phone will listen to your message and take notes, but not engage you in a lengthy conversation.

If you have questions or feedback, please contact Julie Peretz at AIPAC: jperetz@aipac.org or (202) 639-5192.


We are at a critical juncture in efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability. In a worst-case scenario, Iran could have a nuclear weapons capability as early as the end of next year.

Iran is rejecting a proposal to ship its low-enriched uranium out of the country for further processing and is refusing to meet the main requirement of the international community—the long-overdue suspension of its enrichment of uranium.

If Iran continues to defy the international community and fails to seriously negotiate soon with the United States and other world powers, comprehensive and robust economic, diplomatic and political sanctions will be needed quickly to persuade Iran to end its illicit activity.
More than three-quarters of the House and Senate have cosponsored the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (IRPSA) to enhance and strengthen American efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. Congress will send a strong message to the Iranian regime by passing this vital piece of legislation.

The legislation does not call for, require or necessitate a blockade of Iran or any use of military force. Rather, the bill seeks to leverage private market forces by making companies choose between doing business with the United States or with Iran. Companies carrying out these refined petroleum-related activites would be barred from conducting any business in the United States. Shipping companies that transport the refined petroleum to Iran and their insurers are also targeted by the legislation.

For banks, shipping and insurance companies that have large U.S. investments or do considerable business in the United States, the risk of losing access to the American market would almost certainly cause them to end their activity in Iran.

The bill includes provisions allowing the president to waive the sanctions if he determines such a move is in the national security interests of the United States.

If implemented, the bill's sanctions could severely increase the costs to the Iranian regime for its continued nuclear weapons pursuit. Hopefully, the threat of these sanctions would persuade Iran to come into compliance with its international obligations and suspend its uranium enrichment program.

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