U.S. lawmakers may soon have enough support to pass a veto-proof measure that would clear the way for sanctions against foreign banks that deal with blacklisted Iranian entities in foreign currencies.
The Senate bill, introduced by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and cosponsored by his soon-to-be Republican successor Bob Corker (R-TN), has a “pretty good chance of being passed,” said Elizabeth Rosenberg, an expert on Iran sanctions with the Center for a New American Security, during an event organized by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
“There’s about 12 senators right now between the current level of support and the veto-proof override goal of support,” said Rosenberg. “So the question is: what is that number in the next Congress. Because I think it’s entirely possible, likely even, that there will be passage and a veto, so we will be vote counting until we figure out whether they have over 70 [sponsors].”
If passed, the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act would allow the White House to bar U.S.-based banks from maintaining correspondent and payable-through accounts for foreign financial institutions that knowingly process transactions in other currencies on behalf of designated Iranian institutions.
The measure, which would permit the sanctions should Iran fail meet deadlines on concessions that would roll back its nuclear program, would also impose new restrictions on the nation’s petroleum industry, ports, special economic zones and certain individuals.
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