With tensions between the U.S. and Iran being so high after the recent attacks against commercial shipping vessels by that nation’s military elements, a group of U.S. Senators are urging President Trump to increase the pressure on the Iranians by imposing more sanction (s).
Republican Senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, John Cornyn, and others, penned a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to impose more sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran (CBI).
The letter suggested that the president use elements within two of Rubio’s cosponsored and sponsored bill, the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act and the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act.
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Sanctions were already in place against the CBI, but President Obama’s controversial 2015 Iran Nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) did away with those sanctions.
Upon taking office, Trump scrapped the nuclear deal and reestablished the sanctions against the CBI for its history of financing terrorism and illegally proliferating nuclear weapons and other ballistic missiles.
The letter focuses on addressing the threat that Iranian proxy Hezbollah poses to the U.S. and its allies in the region. The CBI has been funding Hezbollah’s acts of terror to the tune of $700 million a year.
Here is an excerpt to the letter to President Trump:
“Your administration rightly reinstated sanctions on CBI as part of the unprecedented maximum-pressure campaign against Iran and Hezbollah. You also recognized that the CBI’s malign conduct extends well beyond its support for Iran’s nuclear program. After the United States exited the Iran nuclear deal, the Treasury Department imposed sanctions against high-ranking CBI officials for funneling millions of dollars to Hezbollah on behalf of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force.
However, a future president could invalidate your efforts by lifting CBI sanctions again.
We urge you to prevent this from happening by reclassifying sanctions against the CBI for Hezbollah-related offenses. Such a redesignation would require the bank to meet a higher legal threshold to receive sanctions relief, thereby making it more difficult for a future president to lift sanctions again.
The Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act of 2018, which you signed into law last October, provides a legal foundation for such a redesignation. This legislation amends the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015 to sanction agencies of foreign governments—such as the CBI—that provide Hezbollah with financial support, arms, or other assistance.”