Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ellison in favor of Iranian nukes?

There was a House vote today to bolster sanctions in response to Iran's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons.
WASHINGTON - The House of Representatives passed legislation Tuesday that tightens existing sanctions on Iran, specifically on companies that invest more than $20 million in the Islamic regime, including in its oil industry.

The bill, which makes it harder to conduct import-export actions with Iran, passed on a 397-16 vote. Sponsored by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, D-Calif., it already had 326 cosponsors in the 435-member body before the legislation was brought to a tally.

The full text of the resolution is here, and the roll call is here.

Only 16 representatives voted against this resolution, and 7 out of 8 from the Minnesota delegation got it right. Among the nay votes, however, was our own Keith Ellison (D - MN 5).

Here is the policy that Ellison voted against:

(a) Findings- Congress finds the following:
(1) The prospect of the Islamic Republic of Iran achieving nuclear arms represents a grave threat to the United States and its allies in the Middle East, Europe, and globally.

(2) The nature of this threat is manifold, ranging from the vastly enhanced political influence extremist Iran would wield in its region, including the ability to intimidate its neighbors, to, at its most nightmarish, the prospect that Iran would attack its neighbors and others with nuclear arms. This concern is illustrated by the statement of Hashemi Rafsanjani, former president of Iran and currently a prominent member of two of Iran's most important decisionmaking bodies, of December 14, 2001, when he said that it `is not irrational to contemplate' the use of nuclear weapons.

(3) The theological nature of the Iranian regime creates a special urgency in addressing Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.

(4) Iranian regime leaders have persistently denied Israel's right to exist. Current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be `wiped off the map' and the Government of Iran has displayed inflammatory symbols that express similar intent.

(5) The nature of the Iranian threat makes it critical that the United States and its allies do everything possible--diplomatically, politically, and economically--to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear-arms capability and persuade the Iranian regime to halt its quest for nuclear arms.

(b) Sense of Congress- It is the sense of the Congress that--
(1) Iranian President Ahmadinejad's persistent denials of the Holocaust and his repeated assertions that Israel should be 'wiped off the map' may constitute a violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and should be brought before an appropriate international tribunal for the purpose of declaring Iran in breach of the Genocide Convention;

(2) the United States should increase use of its important role in the international financial sector to isolate Iran;

(3) Iran should be barred from entering the World Trade Organization (WTO) until all issues related to its nuclear program are resolved;

(4) all future free trade agreements involving Iran should be conditioned on the requirement that the parties to such agreements pledge not to invest and not to allow companies based in its territory or controlled by its citizens to invest in Iran's energy sector or otherwise to make significant investment in Iran;

(5) United Nations Security Council Resolution 1737 (December 23, 2006), which was passed unanimously and mandates an immediate and unconditional suspension of Iran's nuclear enrichment program, represents a critical gain in the world-wide campaign to prevent Iran's acquisition of nuclear arms and should be fully respected by all nations;

(6) the United Nations Security Council should take further measures beyond Resolution 1737 to tighten sanctions on Iran, including preventing new investment in Iran's energy sector, as long as Iran fails to comply with the international community's demand to halt its nuclear enrichment campaign;

(7) the United States should encourage foreign governments to direct state-owned entities to cease all investment in Iran's energy sector and all exports of refined petroleum products to Iran and to persuade, and, where possible, require private entities based in their territories to cease all investment in Iran's energy sector and all exports of refined petroleum products to Iran;

(8) moderate Arab states have a vital and perhaps existential interest in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear arms, and therefore such states, particularly those with large oil deposits, should use their economic leverage to dissuade other nations, including the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, from assisting Iran's nuclear program directly or indirectly and to persuade other nations, including Russia and China, to be more forthcoming in supporting United Nations Security Council efforts to halt Iran's nuclear program;

(9) the United States should take all possible measures to discourage and, if possible, prevent foreign banks from providing export credits to foreign entities seeking to invest in the Iranian energy sector;

(10) the United States should oppose any further activity by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development with respect to Iran, or the adoption of a new Country Assistance Strategy for Iran, including by seeking the cooperation of other countries;

(11) the United States should extend its program of discouraging foreign banks from accepting Iranian state banks as clients;

(12) the United States should prohibit all Iranian state banks from using the United States banking system;

(13) United States Federal pension plans should divest themselves of all non-United States companies investing more than $20,000,000 in Iran's energy sector;

(14) State and local government pension plans should divest themselves of all non-United States companies investing more than $20,000,000 in Iran's energy sector;

(15) the United States should designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which purveys terrorism throughout the Middle East and plays an important role in the Iranian economy, as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, place the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on the list of specially designated global terrorists, and place the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on the list of weapons of mass destruction proliferators and their supporters;

(16) United States concerns regarding Iran are strictly the result of actions of the Government of Iran; and

(17) the American people have feelings of friendship for the Iranian people, regret that developments of recent decades have created impediments to that friendship, and hold the Iranian people, their culture, and their ancient and rich history in the highest esteem.

So, it seems that my own Congressman doesn't see any problem with Iran getting nukes or with its ambitions to "wipe Israel off the map." That doesn't seem like a very "moderate" stance to me.

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