Draft Russia-Sanctions Bill May Also Tighten Iran Penalties

A pro-Russian protester takes down a Ukrainian flag as activists storm a Ukrainian air base in western Crimea on Saturday. The House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday approved a Ukraine sanctions bill with language that may lead to tightened penalties against Iran's supporters.
National Journal
Diane Barnes
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Diane Barnes
March 25, 2014, 11:02 a.m.

A U.S. con­gres­sion­al pan­el on Tues­day ap­proved a Rus­sia-sanc­tions bill with lan­guage that may lead to tightened pen­al­ties against Ir­an’s sup­port­ers.

The House For­eign Af­fairs Com­mit­tee passed le­gis­la­tion by voice vote that would aim to pun­ish Rus­sia’s an­nex­a­tion of Ukraine’s Crimea re­gion, in part by tight­en­ing en­force­ment of a 2005 law tar­get­ing sus­pec­ted pro­lif­er­at­ors to Ir­an, North Korea and Syr­ia. The 2005 meas­ure au­thor­izes Obama to pen­al­ize for­eign in­di­vidu­als and groups sus­pec­ted of sup­ply­ing any of the three na­tions with sens­it­ive ma­ter­i­als covered by one of sev­er­al ex­port-con­trol re­gimes.

“Rus­si­an com­pan­ies have been sanc­tioned in the past for pro­lif­er­a­tion to Syr­ia and Ir­an,” but the State De­part­ment “has been de­lin­quent in im­ple­ment­ing” the 2005 le­gis­la­tion, says a com­mit­tee sum­mary of the bill passed on Tues­day.

The Ukraine Sup­port Act draft would give Pres­id­ent Obama 30 days to de­vel­op “a plan to fully im­ple­ment the Ir­an, North Korea, and Syr­ia Non­pro­lif­er­a­tion Act, in­clud­ing sanc­tions against Rus­si­an com­pan­ies,” ac­cord­ing to the re­port on the bill, in­tro­duced by pan­el Chair­man Ed Royce (R-Cal­if.) and Rank­ing Mem­ber Eli­ot En­gel (D-N.Y.).

A House For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee spokes­man did not re­spond to re­quests for de­tails on the bill’s in­ten­ded tar­gets. But the le­gis­la­tion text spe­cific­ally iden­ti­fies Rosobor­on­ex­port, a sanc­tioned Rus­si­an firm ac­cused of sup­ply­ing Ir­an with pos­sible com­pon­ents for its mis­sile pro­gram.

Con­gres­sion­al ef­forts to ramp up Ir­an sanc­tions have taken on par­tic­u­lar sens­it­iv­ity amid mul­ti­lat­er­al ne­go­ti­ations on the Middle East­ern na­tion’s nuc­le­ar pro­gram. The United States and five oth­er gov­ern­ments are seek­ing to ad­dress fears that Tehran’s nuc­le­ar pro­gram is geared to­ward arms de­vel­op­ment, and Ir­an has threatened to pull out of dis­cus­sions in re­sponse to new sanc­tions in com­ing months.

The Sen­ate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee de­cided earli­er in March against in­clud­ing a sep­ar­ate Ir­an-sanc­tions pro­pos­al in a Ukraine aid bill it was con­sid­er­ing.

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