Congressman Brad Sherman Tells FDD Event That Sanctions on Iran Can Promote Democratic Reform There

Washington, D.C. (December 10, 2010)

A congressman pushing for stronger sanctions on Iran likens them to the laws that helped end the apartheid regime in South Africa in the 1980s.

“Nelson Mandela has thanked us for those sanctions,” Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) told an audience at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ annual Washington Forum. “And I look forward to the day when a democratic leader of Iran thanks us for these sanctions.”

Rep. Sherman has proposed new economic sanctions under the Stop Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program Act. “First, it said whatever a U.S.-based company cannot do, they cannot do through their subsidiaries,” he explained. The law also compels the U.S. Treasury to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its various companies. “You can't sell paper clips to the IRGC or its front groups.”

The act would also sanction those who enable the Iranian regime to circumvent existing sanctions by facilitating the sale of Iranian sovereign bonds, including energy bonds. It prohibits using cash payments or long-term contracts for the purchase of Iranian oil or natural gas, and closes a loophole in U.S. sanctions that allows the Iranian regime to participate in overseas energy projects.

Senators Robert Casey (D-PA) and Scott Brown (R-MA) have introduced comparable legislation in the Senate.

With Tehran having refused to discuss its ongoing nuclear program in the latest round of negotiations with Western powers in Geneva, U.S. and European leaders are once again struggling to manage Iranian recalcitrance. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, FDD devoted its annual Washington Forum to Countering the Iranian Threat.

The event brought together senior U.S. policymakers, members of Congress, European and Israeli diplomats, intelligence specialists, military officials, and proliferation experts to discuss the nature of the Iranian regime, and the policy options available to confront it.

FDD's Iran Energy Project maintains a more comprehensive list of international companies operating in Iran's energy sector at www.iranenergyproject.org. Through the project, FDD provides leading research and analysis in support of strong, broad-based energy sanctions, including sanctions on gasoline, natural gas, and oil, and focuses on the prominent role of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the country's energy industry.

To book an interview or for more information on the Foundation for Defense of Democracies please contact Judy Mayka at (202) 621-3948 or Judy@DefendDemocracy.org.

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The Foundation for Defense of Democracies is a non-profit, non-partisan policy institute dedicated exclusively to promoting pluralism, defending democratic values, and fighting the ideologies that drive terrorism. Founded shortly after the attacks of 9/11, FDD combines policy research, democracy and counterterrorism education, strategic communications, and investigative journalism in support of its mission. For more information, please visit www.defenddemocracy.org.