UANI Calls For Legislation To Ensure That U.S. Taxpayer Dollars Will Not Go To Iran

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 2009
Contact: [email protected]
Phone: (212) 554-3296

UANI Calls For Legislation To Ensure That U.S. Taxpayer Dollars Will Not Go To Iran

New York, NY - United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) today called on Congress introduce legislation to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars are not paid to companies doing business with Iran.

"We urge members of congress to work in a bipartisan manner to guarantee every American that their tax dollars are not paid to companies that do business with Iran.  Taxpayer support of such companies directly strengthens a regime that is developing nuclear weapons and that has brutally repressed its own people," said Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, President of UANI.  "No company doing business with the United States should be doing business with Iran," Wallace said.

UANI applauds recent efforts by Senators Graham, Lieberman, McCain and Schumer to push for international restrictions on electronic equipment sold to Iran.

We urge further action.  Congress should create an "Iran Business Certification Act" (the "IBC Act").  Under the terms of the IBC Act any firm or business receiving federal taxpayer funds such as by stimulus spending, bailout support or government contracting will be required to certify that they are not engaged in any business with Iran.  UANI has proposed model language for such an Act and it is attached.  For more information please visit http://www.unitedagainstnucleariran.com/ibr.

UANI will work with all Congressional offices to seek support for the Act.  In the coming weeks UANI will support the IBC Act with a national television advertising campaign and a Capitol Hill focused print and web based advertising campaign.

In addition, UANI will work with companies to ensure that they voluntarily declare themselves to be free of Iranian business by executing the following pledge for publication in the Iran Business Registry (http://www.unitedagainstnucleariran.com/sites/default/files/UANI_certif…).

UANI's hopes to advance America's diplomatic objectives at a moment when the global financial crisis and lower oil prices have weakened Iran's economy.  Iran's quest for a nuclear weapon is one of the most difficult foreign policy challenges facing the west, and Iran's growing economic isolation provides a unique opportunity for action.

 

BACKGROUND

It was recently reported that Nokia and Siemens, a major U.S. government contractor, provided the Iranian regime with the technology it needs to spy on Iranians, monitor their communication and activities and to brutally crackdown on dissent.  Nokia and Siemens have contributed directly to the Iranian regime's ability to repress its citizens protesting the results of the Iranian presidential election.  Additionally, as part of the federal bailout of AIG it has recently come to light that billions of taxpayer dollars went through AIG to a series of European banks, such as Barclays, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank, that are currently conducting or have recently conducted business in Iran.

 
Iran Uses Siemens and Nokia Technology To Spy On Citizens

The Iranian regime has developed, with the assistance of European telecommunications companies, one of the world's most sophisticated mechanisms for controlling and censoring the Internet, allowing it to examine the content of individual online communications on a massive scale...The monitoring capability was provided, at least in part, by a joint venture of Siemens AG, the German conglomerate, and Nokia Corp., the Finnish cellphone company, in the second half of 2008, Ben Roome, a spokesman for the joint venture, confirmed. (The Wall Street Journal, Iran's Web Spying Aided By Western Technology, Christopher Rhoads and Loretta Chao, June 22, 2009)

Two European companies - a major contractor to the U.S. government and a top cell-phone equipment maker - last year installed an electronic surveillance system for Iran that human rights advocates and intelligence experts say can help Iran target dissidents. Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), a joint venture between the Finnish cell-phone giant Nokia and German powerhouse Siemens, delivered what is known as a monitoring center to Irantelecom, Iran's state-owned telephone company.  (Washington Times, Fed contractor, Cell Phone Maker Sold Spy System to Iran, Eli Lake, April 13, 2009)

    * Since 2005, Siemens had done more than $900 million worth of business with the U.S. government and employs about 70,000 people in the United States. Nokia is one of the leading mobile handset providers in the United States.
 

Siemens Expects To Receive Billions In U.S. Taxpayer Dollars

German industrial conglomerate Siemens AG said it expects to land about $21 billion globally in new orders as governments seek to help industries cut energy consumption. The company could receive $8 billion in revenue from the U.S. stimulus spending plan alone...Siemens estimates it is vying for about $208 billion of the global stimulus spending. In the U.S., Siemens thinks it can compete for $110 billion of the $787 billion in the American Recovery and Restoration Act that Congress passed in February.  (The Wall Street Journal, Siemens Expects To Land $21 Billion From Global Stimulus Spending, Paul Glader, June 22, 2009)

Billions Of Taxpayer Dollars Funneled To European Banks

[T]he revelations that-billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars were funneled through AIG to Goldman Sachs -- one of Wall Street's most politically connected firms -- and to European banks including Deutsche Bank, France's Societe Generale and the UK's Barclays could stoke further outrage at the entire U.S. bank bailout. (Reuters, AIG Payments To Banks Stoke Bailout Rage, John O'Callaghan and Lilla Zuill, March 16, 2009)

    * Through three separate types of transactions, Goldman received an aggregate U.S. $12.9-billion. Among European banks, SocGen was the biggest recipient at U.S. $11.9-billion, Deutsche got U.S. $11.8-billion and Barclays was paid U.S. $8.5-billion. The AIG disclosures are still incomplete in that they do not include payments to the banks since December 31.

Reports Of Barclays In Iran

There are nine other banks that we think were doing this, said Mr. Morgenthau in an interview, including Barclays PLC of the U.K. A Barclays spokesman had no comment beyond a prior disclosure confirming the inquiry. Other banks under scrutiny in the probe include Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank, people with knowledge of the inquiries said. (The Wall Street Journal, Fresh Clues of Iranian Nuclear Intrigue, Glenn R. Simpson and Jay Solomon, January 16, 2009)

It also emerged at the end of March that three European banks--Barclays and Lloyds TSB, both of the UK, and Credit Suisse of Switzerland--face investigation by the U.S. Justice Department and the New York district authorities over whether they purposely hid the origins or destinations of transactions in order to circumvent sanctions against Iran, Cuba, Sudan and Libya. The investigations follow a federal probe into a Dutch bank, ABN Amro, in 2005, after it was fined for obscuring references in wire transfers and processing payments involving Iran and Libya. The U.S. Treasury Department said in a warning to financial institutions in March that banks in Iran disguised their involvement in proliferation and terrorism. Like many other European banks, Credit Suisse moved to cut ties with Iran at the end of 2005. (Economist Intelligence Units Country Commerce)
 

Reports Of Deutsche Bank In Iran

There are nine other banks that we think were doing this, said Mr. Morgenthau in an interview, including Barclays PLC of the U.K. A Barclays spokesman had no comment beyond a prior disclosure confirming the inquiry. Other banks under scrutiny in the probe include Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank, people with knowledge of the inquiries said. (The Wall Street Journal, Fresh Clues of Iranian Nuclear Intrigue, Glenn R. Simpson and Jay Solomon, January 16, 2009)

Another step the Obama administration should take is to sustain American pressure on foreign banks and oil companies to halt their dealings with Iran's energy sector. This effort has led such major firms as Germany's Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, England's HSBC, Credit Suisse and Royal Dutch Shell to halt or limit their business with Iran. (The Baltimore Sun, Facing The Iranian Threat, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, December 9, 2008)

U.S. outreach to foreign banks and to oil companies considering investing in Iran's energy sector has reportedly convinced more than 80 banks and several major potential oil-field investors to cease all or some of their business with Iran. Among them: Germanys two largest banks (Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank), London-based HSBC, Credit Suisse, Norwegian energy company StatoilHydro, and Royal Dutch Shell. (The Wall Street Journal, How To Put The Squeeze On Iran, Orde F. Kittrie, 11/13/08)

Listed by U.S. Government as doing business in Iran. (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, List of Companies Doing Business With State Sponsors Of Terror, Removed from the internet in July of 2007)

PROPOSED MODEL LANGUAGE FOR IRAN BUSINESS CERTIFICATION ACT

To ensure and certify that companies operating in the United States that receive U.S. government funds are not conducting business in Iran.

                Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress, assembled,

SEC. 1. IRAN BUSINESS CERTIFICATION ACT.

                This Act may be cited as the "Iran Business Certification Act".

SEC. 2. SENSE OF CONGRESS REGARDING THE DANGER OF IRAN'S UNACCEPTABLE AND ILLEGAL NUCLEAR PROGRAM

(a)    SENSE OF CONGRESS.---It is the sense of Congress that---

(1)    the United States should continue to support diplomatic efforts in the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Security Council to end Iran's illicit nuclear activities;

(2)    businesses should not aid in Iran's illegal nuclear program;

(3)    the United States, European Union and United Nations Security Council sanctions have had an effect on Iran, and lower oil prices have also adversely affected Iran's economy.  As a result Iran is now more susceptible than ever to economic pressure.  Iran must feel that its economic isolation and foreign policy isolation has grown to the point of being unbearable to lay the groundwork for a diplomatic resolution of this matter;

(4)    Iran still relies on international companies that do business in Iran to support its fragile economy and changing the behavior of even a few of these companies will result in further stress to Iran's economy;

(5)    the many international companies who do business in Iran must be made to feel the pressure to pull out of Iran.  Short-term economic profits cannot be a justification to circumvent even in spirit those international sanctions designed to thwart Iran from developing nuclear weapons;

(6)    with Iran's economy weakened, effective economic measures to isolate the regime may make the difference between a diplomatic resolution and a nuclear standoff.   To make a diplomatic solution possible, international firms doing business in Iran must not continue to provide the last crutch of support to the Iranian economy; and

(7)    this Act seeks to prohibit those entities that do business with the United States from doing business with Iran.

SEC. 3. FINDINGS.

Congress makes the following findings:

(1)    On October 29, 1987 the President of the United States issued Executive Order 12613 imposing an import embargo on Iranian-origin goods and services in response to Iran's "actively supporting terrorism as an instrument of state policy" and "aggressive and unlawful military action against U.S.-flag vessels and merchant vessels of other non-belligerent nations engaged in lawful and peaceful commerce in international waters of the Persian Gulf."

(2)    On March 16, 1995 the President of the United States issued Executive Order 12957 prohibiting U.S. persons from entering into contracts that lead to the development of Iran's petroleum sector in response to the "actions and policies of the Government of Iran [that] constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States."

(3)    On May 6, 1995, the President of the United States issued Executive Order 12959 substantially tightening sanctions against Iran "to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States."

(4)    On August 5, 1996 the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act was signed into law. In 2006, the title of this legislation was changed to the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA). The ISA notes that "the efforts of the Government of Iran to acquire weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them and its support of acts of international terrorism endanger the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and those countries with which the United States shares common strategic and foreign policy objectives," and therefore requires the President to sanction U.S. and foreign companies if the President determines that such companies have invested in Iran's petroleum or natural gas sectors.

(5)    On August 19, 1997, the President of the United States issued Executive Order 13059 clarifying Executive Orders 12957 and 12959 and confirming that virtually all trade and investment activities with Iran by U.S. persons, wherever located, are prohibited, "to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States...in response to the actions and policies of the Government of Iran," and also expanded the import prohibition to cover goods or services owned or controlled by the Government of Iran.

(6)    On March 14, 2000 the Iran Nonproliferation Act was signed into law, "to provide for the application of measures to foreign persons who transfer to Iran certain goods, services, or technology, and for other purposes."

(7)    On September 23, 2001, the President of the United States issued Executive Order EO 13224, allowing the President to block the assets of persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism. Several Iranian entities have been designated under EO 13224 including the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

(8)    On June 28, 2005, the President of the United States issued Executive Order 13382 allowing the President to block the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters. On October 21, 2007, the President designated severa
Iranian entities, including the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and several Iranian banks.

(9)    On July 31, 2006 the United Nations Security Council passed Security Council Resolution 1696 noting with "serious concern" the many reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General and resolutions of the IAEA Board of Governors related to Iran 's nuclear program. The resolution demanded that Iran suspend all its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities and called on UN Member States to prevent the transfer of goods and services that could assist Iran in its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities, or ballistic missiles programs.

(10) On September 30, 2006 the Iran Freedom Support Act (IFSA) was signed into law "to hold the current regime in Iran accountable for its threatening behavior" and also provided that the President should initiate investigations upon the receipt of credible information that a U.S. or foreign person is investing in Iran's petroleum or natural gas sector in violation of the ISA and extended the ISA until December 31, 2011.

(11) On December 23, 2006 the United Nations Security Council passed Security Council Resolution 1737 "reiterating its serious concern" with respect to Iran 's nuclear program, demanding that Iran halt its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities and imposing sanctions on Iran .  The resolution required Member States to take all necessary measures to prevent the supply of certain goods or technologies that could contribute to Iran 's uranium enrichment, reprocessing, or heavy water-related activities, or to the development of a nuclear weapon, and prohibited Member States from procuring such products from Iran .

(12) On March 24, 2007 the United Nations Security Council passed Security Council Resolution 1747 reemphasizing its "serious concern" with respect to Iran 's nuclear program, demanding that Iran halt its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities and strengthening the existing sanctions on Iran .  The resolution found that Iran had failed to comply with Resolutions 1696 and 1737 and prohibited Member States from procuring arms or related materials from Iran and called on Member States to prevent the export of goods listed on the UN Register on Conventional Arms to Iran . Resolution 1747 further expanded the list of persons whose assets must be frozen by Member States and resolution 1747 expanded the list of persons whose entry Member States must report to the UN Security Council.

(13) Effective November 10, 2008, the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) revoked authorization for "U-turn" transfers involving Iran .  As of that date, U.S. depository institutions are no longer authorized to process transfers involving Iran that originate and end with non-Iranian foreign banks.

(14) On March 3, 2008 the United Nations Security Council passed Security Council Resolution 1803 reemphasizing its "serious concern" with respect to Iran's nuclear program, demanding that Iran halt its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities and approving a new round of sanctions on Iran.  The resolution noted with "serious concern" that Iran had not fully ceased its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities as previously demanded by the Security Council. It expanded sanctions by prohibiting the export of additional sensitive goods and technologies to Iran . It also prohibited the entry of certain named individuals into Member States and expanded the list of persons whose assets must be frozen by Member States.

SEC. 4. CERTIFICATION.

(a)    Any company that has received federal funds since January 1, 2007 shall certify, under penalties of perjury, within 30 days of the effective date of this Act, and within 30 days of the end of each calendar year in which such company receives federal funds, that neither it nor any of its affiliates directly or through an agent, representative or intermediary:   

(1)    has engaged in any business or provided any goods or services in Iran other than the provision of goods or services to relieve human suffering in Iran or the dissemination of news and information worldwide via the Internet;

(2)    has been a party to any agreement with any Iranian entity or the Government of Iran, or the owner of an interest in, any Iranian entity; or

(3)    the owner or operator of any plant, property, equipment or other assets located in Iran .

(b)   The certification required under Section 4(a) shall be executed on behalf of the applicable company by an authorized officer of the company and shall not deviate from the language set forth therein.

(c)    In the event that a company is unable to make the certification required under Section 4(a) because it or one of its affiliates has engaged in one or more of the activities specified in clauses (1), (2) and (3) thereof, the company shall provide to the secretaries concerned, prior to the deadline for delivery of such certification, a detailed and precise description of such activities, such description to be provided under penalties of perjury.

(d)   The certifications provided under Section 4(a) and disclosures provided under Section 4(c) shall be publicly disclosed by the Secretary of the Treasury.

 

SEC. 5. ADMINISTRATION OF IRAN BUSINESS CERTIFICATION ACT.

(a)    MANAGEMENT.---The Secretaries concerned shall administer this Act.

SEC. 6.  REPORT REQUIREMENT

(a)    No later than 90 days following the effective date of this Act and 90 days following the end of each calendar year, the Secretary of the Treasury shall submit a report to the Speaker of the House, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Chair and Ranking Members of the House Committee on Financial Services, Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, and the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations, explaining the extent to which all companies receiving federal funds or any of their affiliates, directly or indirectly:   

(1)    has engaged in any business or provided any goods or services in Iran other than the provision of goods or services to relieve human suffering in Iran or the dissemination of news and information worldwide via the Internet;

(2)    has been a party to any agreement with any Iranian entity or the Government of Iran, or the owner of an interest in, any Iranian entity; or

(3)    the owner or operator of any plant, property, equipment or other assets located in Iran.

SEC. 7. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act:

(1)    SECRETARY CONCERNED.---The term "Secretary concerned" means---

(a)    with respect to administering U.S. federal government funds under the jurisdiction of  the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of the Treasury; and

(b)   with respect to businesses operating in the U.S. under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Commerce.

 
(2)    COMPANY.---The term "company" means---

(a)    a sole proprietorship, organization, association, corporation, partnership, limited liability company, venture, or other entity, its subsidiary or affiliate; and

(b)   includes a company owned or controlled, either directly or indirectly, by the government of a foreign country, that is established or organized under the laws of, or has its principal place of business in, such foreign country and includes U.S. subsidiaries of the same.
 

(3)    AFFILIATE.---The term "affiliate" means any individual or entity that directly or indirectly controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with, the company, including without limitation direct and indirect subsidiaries of the company.

(4)    ENTITY.---The term "entity" means a sole proprietorship, a partnership, limited liability corporation, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, or other organization.

 
(5)    FEDERAL FUNDS.---The term "federal funds" means a sum of money or other resources derived from U.S. taxpayers, which the U.S. government may provide to companies through government grants or loans, or through the terms of a contract with the federal government, or through the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 "Troubled Asset Relief Program" or other similar and related transaction vehicles

 
(6)    GOVERNMENT OF IRAN.---The term "Government of Iran" includes the Government of Iran, any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, and any person owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, the Government of Iran.

(7)    IRAN.---The term "Iran" means the territory of Iran and any other territory or marine area, including the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, over which the Government of Iran claims sovereignty, sovereign rights, or jurisdiction, provided that the Government of Iran exercises partial or total de facto control over the area or derives a benefit from economic activity in the area pursuant to international arrangements.

 

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