NUFDI

Back to Op-eds

April 28 2024

Op-Eds

Congress Leads on Iran Sanctions

Andrew Ghalili

SENIOR POLICY ANALYST

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal


Aid to Ukraine and Israel got more attention, but the same package of national-security bills contained an important provision expanding sanctions against Iran. Iran’s missile and drone assault on Israel this month solidified support for the measures, which will exact a devastating economic toll on the regime and help thwart the Biden administration’s sanctions-relief effort.

Four of the aid package’s most significant Iran-related provisions are the Mahsa Amini Human Rights and Security Accountability Act, known by the acronym Mahsa; the Stop Harboring Iranian Petroleum, Act, or SHIP; the Holding Iranian Leaders Accountable Act, and the Iran-China Energy Sanctions Act. Two of these bills target high-level officials in the Islamic Republic. The other two support the U.S. position on Iran’s largest source of foreign income: its petroleum industry. Rep. Mike Lawler (R., N.Y.), sponsor of the SHIP Act, said: “We will finally begin to cut off Iran’s funding for terror at its source—its illicit oil trade.”

The Islamic Republic has been war-mongering for decades, and its threats and actions have ramped up amid America’s accommodating policy. Iran’s military spending, oil exports, nuclear progress and domestic repression all correlate with U.S. policy. Since 2020 the U.S. and its European allies have let the sunset clauses in the Iran nuclear deal and United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 take effect. The West has failed to deter Tehran from advancing its nuclear program and allowed sanctions to expire—including the embargo against ballistic-missile trade.

Iran’s bad behavior has become more flagrant. President Biden has eased the enforcement of some sanctions, such as those on Iran’s oil trade, and waived others, such as those on the revenue from Iran’s electricity shipments to Iraq. This has enriched the Islamic Republic. The Biden administration’s ransom payments for American detainees likewise encouraged Iran’s penchant for hostage-taking...

Read the rest of the article here.