House Passes More Iran-Related Measures Following Its Attack on Israel

The third round consisted of four bills.

The House of Representatives on April 17 passed a third round of Iran-related measures in the aftermath of the regime’s unprecedented attack on Israel over the weekend.

The third round consisted of four bills.

The Standing Against Houthi Aggression Act, introduced by Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), passed 285-135. It would fully designate the Houthis as a terrorist group beyond its current “specially designated” status. The Trump administration designated the Iran-backed group, based in Yemen, a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) on Jan. 19, 2021—one day before President Joe Biden took office. The bill would require the designation of the group within 90 days of the enactment of the bill.

But the Biden administration revoked the FTO designation the following month, claiming it hindered getting humanitarian aid to those affected by the crisis in Yemen—even though critics have said that the designation does not prevent such assistance from being delivered.

The Houthis have been behind attacks in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

The Biden administration designated the Houthis as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group (SDGT), which is different to a FTO, on Jan. 17 this year in response to the group’s attacks on international maritime vessels and military forces defending the safety and security of commercial shipping.

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Another bill, the Iran Sanctions Relief Review Act introduced by Rep. Keith Self (R-Texas), passed 278-141. It would allow for Congress to review Iran sanctions waived by the executive branch. It would only take a simple majority in both the House and Senate to disapprove sanctions waived by the administration.
The Iran Counterterrorism Act, introduced by Rep. Young Kim (R-Calif.), passed 271-147. It would “modify the availability of certain waiver authorities with respect to sanctions imposed with respect to the financial sector of Iran, and for other purposes.”
And lastly, a bill introduced by Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas) passed 259-160. It would revoke specific licenses and waivers surrounding sanctions on Iran.

Money, Money, Money

The Biden administration has come under fire for not enforcing sanctions or for waiving sanctions related to Iran.

For example, the Biden administration has repeatedly extended a 120-day waiver that allows Iraq to buy $10 billion worth of electricity from Iran.

The waiver was last issued by Secretary of State Antony Blinken on March 12 despite Israel’s war with the terrorist group Hamas, which is backed by Iran.

Critics have denounced the Biden administration for issuing the waiver and have said that the $10 billion received by Iran would be used for the regime’s malign activities, including its leading support for terrorism.

The Biden administration has repeatedly said Iran does not have access to the funds and that the funds can be used by Tehran only for humanitarian and other non-sanctionable purposes.

In an April 3 letter to Mr. Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, 13 GOP senators lamented that “the waiver makes restricted Iranian funds more accessible to the Ayatollah’s regime, at a time when Iranian-backed aggression in the region is at a peak” and that “the administration appears to be disregarding congressional intent that any payments made to Iran remain severely restricted.”

The group called the waiver “unfathomable” as Iranian-backed groups, such as the Houthis in Yemen, are attacking U.S. service members.

“If we want to actually restore deterrence in the region, those funds should be placed further out of Iran’s reach, not closer,” the senators wrote.

The senators noted that when Baghdad purchases electricity from Tehran, it must be done with the Iraqi dinar, not the Iranian rial. The waivers, they pointed out, have allowed Iran to denominate the payments in euros.

Because the euro is stronger than the dinar, Iran can access more funding than it would using dinars and, therefore, increase its malign activities.

As foreign policy expert and human rights lawyer Irina Tsukerman told The Epoch Times earlier this month, the denomination makes it “more likely” that Tehran can “access international markets” given the euro’s legitimacy.

Hence, she said, Iran “can use it to gain access where it would otherwise be excluded.”

“The United States should be restricting Iran’s access to currency abroad,” the group of Republicans wrote to Mr. Blinken and Ms. Yellen. “Instead, your administration is expanding it, all while continuing to share limited information on a strategy to restore deterrence in the Middle East with Congress or the American people.”

Ms. Tsukerman remarked that “because U.S. pressure is to de-dollarize banks rather than to limit Iran’s access, this is hurting [the] U.S., weakening [U.S.] influence on Baghdad, and making it more difficult to pay [nongovernmental organizations].”

She also said Iran, China, and Russia win, as the latter two are also “expanding influence inside Iraq.”

“They just can’t quit appeasing Iran. It’s all they know,” Richard Goldberg, who led Iran policy in the National Security Council during the Trump administration, told The Epoch Times in November 2023.

“It’s somewhere between ideology and pathology. There’s no excuse for giving Iran access to a single penny after Oct. 7, and 55 attacks on U.S. forces since Oct. 17.”

At the end of the day, according to Ms. Tsukerman, the United States “should deny [the] waiver, and instead work with Gulf states to get more electricity into Iraq and help [its] economy become more independent from Iran, China, and Russia.”

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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