Statement by Senator Robert Mendez on Iran Sanctions Amendment

November 18, 2011

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Related Country: 

  • Iran

WASHINGTON -- Today, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 that requires the President to determine whether the Central Bank of Iran's conduct threatens the national security of the United States or its allies as a result of its facilitation and support of activities by the government of Iran to acquire the technology and materials to create a nuclear weapon. If passed, the amendment will impose sanctions on any foreign financial institutions that engage in significant transactions with the Central Bank of Iran, with the exception of transactions in food, medicine and medical devices. Menendez was joined by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Ben Nelson (D-FL) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY).

In offering the amendment Menendez said: "I look forward to continuing to work with the Administration and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to achieve our shared goals. One of the greatest - if not the greatest -- threats to the security of our nation and our allies is the concerted effort by the government of Iran to acquire the technology and materials to create a nuclear weapon. That will alter the balance of power in the Middle East and almost certainly lead to hostilities. We must do everything in our power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and this amendment will starve the Iranian regime of the money it needs to achieve its nuclear goals. Simply put, it says that you have a choice - to do business with the United States or to do business with Iran."

Earlier today, the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation governing board adopted a resolution admonishing Iran over rising international fears it might be pursuing a nuclear-weapon capability.

I am pleased that the IAEA board of governors, including Russia and China, has expressed its deep and increasing concern about the Iranian nuclear program, demonstrating the broad support in the international community to keep up the pressure on the regime and prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," Menendez said about the resolution.
The amendment comes a week after the Director-General of the IAEA issued an unprecedented and alarming report, detailing the considerable evidence that the Iranian government is moving toward the capability to develop nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.