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Bipartisan group of House members calls for stronger enforcement of Iran oil sanctions

‘The administration must adopt a zero-tolerance policy regarding Iran’s lucrative oil exports,’ the lawmakers wrote

A picture taken on November 10, 2019, shows an Iranian flag in Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, during an official ceremony to kick-start works on a second reactor at the facility.

ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images

A picture taken on November 10, 2019, shows an Iranian flag in Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, during an official ceremony to kick-start works on a second reactor at the facility.

A bipartisan group of 62 House members wrote to President Joe Biden on Tuesday calling for the administration to crack down on enforcing oil sanctions on Iran in the wake of the Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel and the increase in Iranian proxy activity throughout the Middle East in the ensuing four months.

“In the wake of the October 7th terror attacks and subsequent attacks by Iran-backed proxies on U.S. forces in the Middle East, the administration must adopt a zero-tolerance policy regarding Iran’s lucrative oil exports,” the letter reads. “These exports provide a crucial lifeline to sustain and expand Tehran’s sponsorship of terrorist groups that seek the destruction of Israel. They must be stopped.”

The letter was led by Reps. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) and Mike Lawler (R-NY), the lead sponsors of the SHIP Act, a House-passed bill that would seek stronger sanctions on Iranian oil exports, particularly targeting Chinese purchasers of oil.

The majority of the letter’s signatories are Republicans, but also include Democratic Reps. Don Davis (D-NC), Jim Costa (D-CA), Jared Golden (D-ME), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Wiley Nickel (D-NC), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Steve Cohen (D-TN).

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-TX) also signed onto the letter.

The letter raises concerns about reports “that the administration scaled back enforcement efforts against Iranian oil shipments as part of negotiations with Iran,” a policy the lawmakers said “must be reversed.”

Iran’s oil exports have spiked in recent years, despite continued sanctions on the country.

“We support bipartisan, bicameral efforts in Congress to address Iran’s expanding oil trade,” the letter continues. “We, therefore, call on the administration to take immediate action to stop Iran’s illicit oil trade and sanction entities transporting Iranian petroleum products and the foreign ports and refineries that knowingly accept those products, along with any financial institutions facilitating these transactions.”

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