OU Calls on Senate to Extend Iran-Libya Sanctions Act for Five Years

Posted on June 28, 2001 In Press Releases

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest mainstream Orthodox Jewish organization, today urged the United States Senate to re-authorize the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act for five years. This important legislation, which expires in August, bans investment in Iran and Libya by U.S. companies and imposes a broad array of economic sanctions against foreign businesses that make such investments. This important legislation is designed to combat Iranian and Libyan efforts to fund terrorism and programs of nuclear weapons development and is essential to protecting the global community against terrorism.

As terrorism is now an international problem and no longer isolated to one region of the world, it is crucial that we eliminate revenues which fund Iranian sponsorship of terrorism and their program of development of weapons of mass destruction. As the pre-eminent sponsor of Islamic radical extremist and terrorist groups including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Iran provides these
organizations with funds, weapons and training as they make every effort to destabilize the Middle East and target Western interests around the world.

The Iran-Libya Sanctions has been very effective in checking the efforts of Iran and Libya to promote terrorist activities. The United States must remain vigilant against state-sponsored terrorism and therefore ILSA must be renewed for a full five year extension. The U.S. must maintain a strong sanctions policy in order to send a clear, resolute and unambiguous message to nations that promote and finance international terrorism that such behavior will not be tolerated. Shortening the extension of ILSA would be seen as a victory by the Iranian and Libyan governments as they continue to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons that threaten neighbors throughout the Middle East. In spite of the recent elections in Iran, neither Iran nor Libya has moderated of its objectionable policies that merits a reconsideration of the terms of ILSA and their support of radical extremist Islamic terrorist groups has never been greater.

Sanctions do work. The Iran-Libya Sanctions Act has effectively deterred foreign investment. Over the last five years, Iran has sought foreign investment for 55 petroleum development projects. Only seven have received any foreign investment as most foreign petroleum industries have significant business in the United States and will not risk these investments for fear of U.S. sanctions. We reiterate our call to the United States Senate to recommit to the full five year extension of ILSA.