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USA*Engage Expresses Deep Disappointment Over Senate Approval of Iran Sanctions Amendment to Defense Authorization Bill
Date: 12/1/2011
Written By: Jennifer Cummings, The Fratelli Group for NFTC, 202-822-9491

Washington DC – USA*Engage today released the following statement in response to the U.S. Senate's approval of an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which would impose additional U.S. unilateral sanctions on Iran.

"We are deeply disappointed with the Senate's vote to approve amendment 1414 to the defense authorization bill. While the amendment was likely well-intentioned and aimed at making a strong political statement to the Iranian regime, as history has proven time and time again, unilateral U.S. sanctions are ineffective. Today's vote was both ill-timed and ill-advised. Should world oil prices spike as a result, Iran will be the beneficiary," said Bill Reinsch, President of the National Foreign Trade Council and Co-Chair of USA*Engage.

"Just last week, the United States joined with our allies in the international community in a coordinated effort to enact ‘smart,' multilateral sanctions on Iran – a move that USA*Engage welcomed – and now we have the Senate working at cross-purposes to enact stand-alone unilateral sanctions legislation," said Richard Sawaya, Director of USA*Engage. "Saying that the amendment approved today is ‘counterproductive' is an understatement. It could jeopardize the strength of the entire international consensus on multilateral Iran sanctions the United States has worked so hard to develop."

In a letter sent today by U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin today, "...this amendment threatens severe sanctions against any commercial bank or central bank if they engage in certain transactions with the CBI [Central Bank of Iran]. This could negatively affect many of our closest allies and largest trading partners. Rather than motivating these countries to join us in increasing pressure on Iran, they are more likely to resent our actions and resist following our lead – a consequence that would serve the Iranians more than it harms them."

USA*Engage on Monday sent a
letter to Senators urging them to oppose any Iran sanctions-related amendments to the defense authorization bill.

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About USA*Engage

USA*Engage (www.usaengage.org) is a coalition of small and large businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations working to seek alternatives to the proliferation of unilateral U.S. foreign policy sanctions and to promote the benefits of U.S. engagement abroad. Established in 1997 and organized under the National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org), USA*Engage leads a campaign to inform policymakers, opinion leaders, and the public about the counterproductive nature of unilateral sanctions, the importance of exports and overseas investment for American competitiveness and jobs, and the role of American companies in promoting human rights and democracy worldwide.

About the NFTC

Advancing Global Commerce for Nearly A Century- The National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org) is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.
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