Washington: Noting that Tehran is buying
time by once again trying to enter negotiations on its
controversial nuclear weapons programme, two Senators urged
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to toughen sanctions
In a letter to Clinton, the two Senators John Kyl and
Chuck Shumer, also called for taking actions against the
Chinese companies who are continuing to do business with Iran
in violations of the sanctions.
"We urge the Administration to take a firm position that
until Iran agrees to halt all uranium enrichment, which is
occurring in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions, and
is fully in compliance with its IAEA safeguards commitments,
the Administration will relentlessly pursue the strengthening
of the web of sanctions against the regime,? The Senators
"We urge your Department, and we hope you will urge the
rest of the Administration, to ensure, consistent with the new
sanctions law passed by both Houses of Congress with virtual
unanimity, and signed into law in July, that it will promptly
penalize those companies that are continuing to supply Iran
with refined petroleum products since the Comprehensive Iran
Sanctions and Accountability and Divstment Act was signed into
According to reports, these would include Turkey`s Turpas
and China`s Sinopec, National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC),
and Zhuhai Zhenrong.
The Senators also urged Clinton to designate banks,
pursuant to the rule promulgated by the Treasury Department in
July, to ensure Iranian banks are not able to participate in
the international banking system; and impose sanctions on the
Central Bank of Iran, also known as Bank Markazi, which for
years has served as a channel for Iranian business and banks
blacklisted by sanctions to access foreign markets, including
markets in the US and Europe.
Both the senators also urged Clinton to prohibit
companies that export sensitive communications jamming or
monitoring technology to Iran, from entering into procurement
contracts with the federal government.
"Last year the China National Petroleum Company (CNPC)
reportedly replaced the Japanese firm Inpex and agreed to
invest around USD 2 billion to develop the South Azadegan
"CNPC and its subsidiary companies have also reportedly
shipped gasoline to Iran and signed agreements to invest
billions in other areas of Iran`s energy sector," they wrote.
Observing that the window to stop the Iranian regime from
obtaining a nuclear weapons capability through sanctions is
rapidly closing, the Senators said: "We must do everything in
our power to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons
capability and keep this capability out of the hands of the
violent extremist in Tehran".