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Rubio And Kirk Introduce Bill To Prohibit Iranian Access To U.S. Dollars

Apr 6, 2016 | Comunicados de Prensa

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) today introduced a bill to prohibit Iranian access to the U.S. financial system and the use of offshore U.S. dollar clearing, following reports that the Obama Administration plans to help the country illicitly access U.S. dollars.
Iran is already prohibited from direct financial transactions with the U.S. financial system, and the Preventing Iran’s Access to United States Dollars Act of 2016 blocks indirect access by disallowing the President from issuing any license for conducting an offshore U.S. dollar clearing system for Iranian transactions or for providing any such system with U.S. dollars. Any financial institution found participating in these transactions would be subject to the imposition of sanctions. The bill also clarifies that existing law prohibits the issuance of a license to allow Iran indirect access to the U.S. financial system.
“The Iranian regime has failed to prevent rampant money laundering and has continued to finance terrorist organizations and expand its ballistic missile program, showing a blatant disregard for U.S. sanctions and the integrity of the international financial system,” Rubio said. “Iranian access to U.S. dollars or the U.S. financial system, whether direct or indirect, will only further support these threatening and destabilizing activities.”
“Rather than helping Iran circumvent existing U.S. law, the Obama Administration should be increasing pressure on Iran’s leaders to halt their provocative behavior and threats against Israel,” Rubio continued. “The administration needs to stop moving the goalposts with Congress and the American people on this vital issue of national security. This legislation makes clear that helping the Iranian regime indirectly gain access to U.S. dollars is strictly prohibited and punishable by law.”
“The United States should not green light the greenback for the Iranian regime’s terrorists and financial criminals,” Senator Kirk said. “Giving Iran access to dollarized transactions outside the U.S. financial system would benefit Iran’s financiers of international terrorism, human rights abuses, and ballistic missile threats while also ignoring the Treasury Department’s finding under the USA PATRIOT Act’s Section 311 that Iran’s entire financial sector is a jurisdiction of primary money laundering concern, as well as the Financial Action Task Force’s ongoing calls for countermeasures to protect international financial sectors from Iran’s terrorist financing.”
Rubio raised these issues yesterday at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing featuring Thomas Shannon, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs. At that hearing, senators reminded Shannon that Congress and the American public were not informed as part of the review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that Iran would be allowed access to U.S. dollar transactions, and they rejected the insinuation of some administration officials that enabling such access is a U.S. obligation under the nuclear deal. In a letter available here, Rubio and Kirk also requested assurances from Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew that the U.S. will block Iranian access to U.S. dollars and the U.S. financial system. Rubio indicated on Tuesday that he could not support the consideration of Treasury Department nominees until his questions are answered.
A PDF of the legislation is available here.