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NFTC and USA*Engage Express Disappointment Over House Approval of Unilateral Iran Sanctions Bill Say Enough Sanctions, Already
Date: 8/1/2012
Written By: Jennifer Cummings, The Fratelli Group for NFTC, (202) 822-9491

Washington, DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and USA*Engage today released the following statement in response to the House of Representatives' approval of a bill to impose additional U.S. unilateral sanctions against Iran.

"Congress, impelled by election year politics, has voted overwhelmingly to impose additional economic sanctions on Iran. This is unfortunate, but not surprising," said USA*Engage Director Richard Sawaya. "Today's action ignores Iran's experience of three embargos since the 1950s and, in effect, attempts to cut Iran off from the global financial system and restrict the country's exports of crude oil through the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Right Act of 2012."

"The House has taken this action in the name of diplomacy, but it would severely constrain the Administration's space for negotiations. In a moment of frankness, its foremost supporters candidly admit sanctions will not alter Iranian nuclear decision-making, but instead offer the justification that sanctions will so harm ordinary Iranians that they will overthrow the ruling regime – a hypothesis that does not stand up to the record of history," said Sawaya.

"At least, the commitment to continuing duly licensed humanitarian trade in agricultural products, food, medicine and medical products with Iran is cited in the legislation – though its viability is threatened by the financial sanctions," Sawaya concluded.

"Apparently, the old saw – if one's only tool is a hammer, everything becomes a nail – trumps Einstein's definition of insanity when it comes to U.S. relations with Iran," said NFTC President Bill Reinsch. "To the degree that U.S. sanctions on Iran ‘work,' they will effectively expand the control of the Revolutionary Guards over Iran's economy, provide the regime with fodder to fuel anti-Americanism in a population until now distinguished in the region by pro-American sentiments, and a firm floor over global oil prices, nullifying the production ‘good news' from North America and elsewhere."

"Moreover, the hidden effects on U.S. multinationals – none of whom operate in Iran – makes the business of doing business in a global economy that much more difficult in terms of avoiding contractual obligations with entities that may be caught in the sanctions net. Ever-expanding economic sanctions enshrined as U.S. law hardly seem calculated to promote world economic activity," said Reinsch.
About the NFTC
USA*Engage ( 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 (, 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 ( 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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