Lawmakers urge Obama to enforce Iran sanctions


WASHINGTON (JTA) — A bipartisan group of lawmakers urged President Obama in a letter to enforce current sanctions against Iran.

The letter, signed by 50 members of the U.S. Congress, asks that current sanctions against companies investing in Iran’s energy sector be upheld in light of troubled multilateral negotiations in Vienna.

The Vienna talks stopped suddenly Tuesday when Iran replaced its lead nuclear negotiator with lower-level officials and made new demands for rights to highly enriched uranium on Iranian soil. The talks resumed Wednesday.

The signing of the letter was organized by Reps. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Ron Klein (D-Fla.).

"Laws are on the books to crack down on the current regime in Iran, and it is long past time they were enforced," Klein said. "We cannot allow foreign companies to flagrantly violate U.S. law by investing millions in Iran’s energy sector with no penalties. Our comprehensive strategy to address the threat posed by a nuclear Iran must include giving real teeth to sanctions that are already the law of the land."

The Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 requires the president to impose sanction on groups that invest more than $20 million in Iran’s nuclear sector. More than 20 foreign firms are violating the law and have yet to face U.S. sanctions.

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