In their letter Nov. 17, six leaders of the House of Representatives urged President Obama to enact tougher economic sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). This letter references last week’s review by the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which proves Iran is actively pursuing nuclear weapons capabilities including an explosive device.
The letter stated: “Clearly, the time available for the United States and responsible nations to prevent Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear capability is running short…We urge you to quickly designate CBI as a facilitator of Iran’s weapons of mass destruction proliferation and terrorist activities for the purpose of imposing sanctions on persons that do business with CBI. We also urge you to make the Central Bank of Iran’s involvement in proliferation and terrorist activities the target of coordinated multilateral sanctions.”
Signatories of the letter included House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio); the majority leader, Eric Cantor (R-Va.); the minority leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.); the minority whip, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.); Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; and foreign affairs committee ranking member Howard Berman (D-Calif.).
B’nai B’rith also welcomes the Nov. 16 letter from a bipartisan group of seven U.S. senators to the president leading up to the IAEA board of governors meeting today. At that meeting this afternoon in Vienna, the U.N. watchdog agency adopted a resolution rebuking Iran’s nuclear program, which passed with 32 votes of the 35 participating nations.
The senators wrote that the Iranian government’s “deceptive and illicit conduct…provides a critical but fleeting basis for the United States to rally the international community to impose new and crippling forms of pressure on Iran.”
It continued: “We write today, therefore, to express our strong conviction that the United States, together with our European allies, should work to ensure that the Board of Governors adopts a strong and principled resolution that both recognizes and amplifies the IAEA report. We also firmly believe that a weakened resolution, as some governments will undoubtedly press for, would be profoundly counterproductive to our broader effort to stop Iran's dangerous and destabilizing nuclear drive.”
The letter’s signatories included Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ), Joseph I. Lieberman (I-CT), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).
“We welcome the bipartisan action on this urgent matter and hope the administration will swiftly move to pass such sanctions,” said B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs. “If Iran has nuclear weapons, it would undoubtedly pass them along to terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, presenting an immediate security threat to Israel and the entire Middle East.”
The White House has enacted sanctions on smaller banks, but doing so to the central bank would virtually cut Iran off from much of the global economy.
“As the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, Iran defies international norms as it continues to pursue its attainment of nuclear weapons, as proven in the latest IAEA report. Hopefully this domestic bipartisan action will lead the way for the international community to act soon. The more time passes, options to curb these alarming developments narrow,” said Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin.