WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today in support of H.R. 1400, the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007, which passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 397 to 16:
"I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this important, bipartisan legislation – the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007 – which has more than 300 co-sponsors.
"This bill would greatly strengthen the existing sanctions regime and propose new diplomatic strategies with respect to Iran, which continues to pursue its nuclear agenda in defiance of UN sanctions and international pressure.
"Let us be clear: The government of Iran – which is recognized as a state sponsor of terrorism by our State Department and which supports terrorist groups such as Hezbollah – believes it can exploit international irresolution. We must not allow it to do so.
"It goes without saying that a nuclear-armed Iran constitutes a threat to the national security interests of the United States, as well as the peace and security of the international community. And, we cannot overlook the serious questions raised about Iran’s efforts to exploit the civil war in Iraq to its advantage or intelligence information related to its arming of Iraqi insurgents.
"Our concerns are only heightened by the inflammatory and irresponsible statements of Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has stated his hope for a 'world without America' and his desire 'to wipe Israel off the map.'
"Let me say, Ahmadinejad’s comments yesterday at Columbia University in New York only confirm the view that he is a dangerous menace, who spins loathsome propaganda while denying that the Holocaust occurred, threatening Israel, and repressing his own people.
"I believe the international community must stand as one against Iran, an international lawbreakers whose record of deceit and belligerence leaves no doubt as to its motivations.
"Thus, I believe this legislation is an important step forward in demonstrating our bipartisan resolve to address the serious security concerns posed by Iran.
"Nothing in this act authorizes the use of force against Iran. However, it would support diplomatic and economic means to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem, and calls for enhanced UN Security Council efforts to respond to Iran’s defiance.
"Furthermore, the bill amends the Iran Sanctions Act to remove the President’s waiver on sanctions, and expands the types of investments subject to sanctions. It reforms our commercial relationship with this rogue regime by limiting the export of U.S. items to Iran and by prohibiting all imports.
"Among other things, the bill also prevents U.S. subsidiaries of foreign oil companies that invest in Iran’s oil sector from receiving U.S. tax benefits for oil and gas exploration, and prevents nuclear cooperation between the United States and any country that provides nuclear assistance in Iran.
"I urge all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this important bipartisan bill."