- Today the House Committee on Oversight and Reform's Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs held a hearing entitled "Iran Sanctions: Options, Opportunities and Consequences." Witnesses were Dr. Suzanne Maloney, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution (text of prepared testimony
); Dr. George Lopez, Professor of Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame (text of prepared testimony
); Robin Wright, Jennings Randolph Fellow, U.S. Institute of Peace (text of prepared testimony
); and Ambassador James Dobbins, Director, RAND International Security and Defense Policy Center (text of prepared testimony
). In addition, NIAC's Trita Parsi was invited to provide a statement
for the hearing. For a summary of the hearing - which included all four witnesses saying that if they were voting, they would vote "no" on IRPSA - can be viewed here
- Surprising absolutely nobody, the House voted this afternoon to suspend the rules and pass HR 2194, the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (IRPSA), by a vote of 412-12, with 4 voting "present." The full roll call vote can be viewed here
. Voting "No" were: Baldwin (D-WI), Blumenauer (D-OR), Conyers (D-MI), Duncan (R-TN), Flake (R-AZ), Hinchey (D-NY), Kucinich (D-OH), Lynch (MA), McDermott (D-WA), Moore (D-WI), Paul (R-TX), and Stark (D-CA). Voting "Present" were: E.B. Johnson (D-TX), Kilpatrick (D-MI), Lee (D-CA) and Waters (D-CA). Friday's Round-Up will include excerpts from key floor statements and statements inserted into the record.
- As the House was getting ready to move on the very misguided and potentially counter-productive IRPSA, yesterday (12/14/09) two new Iran bills were introduced. These two bills embrace a much different approach: targeting Iranian government officials with sanctions and proposing tangible things to support the Iranian people. APN strongly supports both of these bills and is urging members of Congress to cosponsor and support them
- The first bill is HR 4301
, introduced by Reps. Moran (D-VA), Inglis (R-SC) and Delahunt (D-MA). Entitled the Iran Digital Empowerment Act (IDEA)
, this bill would ensure that the Iranian people have access to software and related technology crucial to internet communications amongst themselves and between Iran and the outside world. It would also ensure that Iranian private citizens have access to tools that allow them to circumvent Iranian government efforts to stifle and monitor internet communications. At present, US sanctions - which have not been updated recently and have thus been overtaken by technology - has already resulted in some such tools and services being unavailable to Iranians.
- The second bill is HR 4303
, introduced by Reps. Ellison (D-MN) and Delahunt (D-MA). Entitled the Stand with the Iranian People Act (SWIPA),
this bill would (a) bar the issuance of visa to or entry into the US of any Iranian government official credibly alleged to have involvement in human rights abuses; (b) prohibit US procurement contracts with companies that have aided Iranian government efforts to stifle free speech by providing censorship or monitoring technology; and (c) authorize US non-profit organizations' activities in Iran for the provision of humanitarian and people-to-people assistance.