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Lawmakers urge administration to ‘expeditiously implement’ new Iran sanctions

A new bipartisan letter calls on officials to enforce the SHIP Act and the Iran-China Energy Sanctions Act, passed into law in April

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY) leaves the House Republicans' caucus meeting at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers on Monday called on the administration to “expeditiously implement” stringent new Iran sanctions targeting the country’s oil exports to China that were passed into law earlier this year.

The Stop Harboring Iranian Petroleum (SHIP) Act and Iran-China Energy Sanctions Act were both included in the supplemental national security funding bill that passed Congress and was signed into law in April with bipartisan support. Lawmakers critical of the administration’s Iran policy have long accused the White House of deliberately failing to fully enforce existing sanctions law and pursue sanctions evasion.

The letter, led by Reps. Mike Lawler (R-NY), Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and joined by nearly 40 House Republicans, urges the administration to implement the sanctions as required under law.

“Existing sanctions on Iranian oil must be strictly enforced, but it is also imperative that the Administration fully utilize the new authorities created by H.R. 815,” the letter, addressed to the secretaries of State and Treasury reads. “It is incumbent upon the Department of State and the Department of the Treasury to work together to kneecap Iran’s illicit oil trade.”

The two bills target ports, refineries and others in China involved with processing Iranian petroleum, and Chinese financial institutions involved in transactions for Iranian oil, respectively.

The letter argues that Iranian oil export funds can be linked to Iranian proxies’ attacks, including the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, and a strike by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq group that killed three American soldiers in Jordan.

“As Iran continues its campaign of terror, we urge you to expeditiously implement sanctions enacted through the SHIP Act and the Iran-China Energy Sanctions Act,” the lawmakers wrote. “Additionally, we urge you to keep Congress updated on the implementation process and the results of these sanctions once imposed. We look forward to hearing back on the steps the Administration has taken to adhere to existing law.”

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