Pfluger, Panetta Introduce Bipartisan Legislation To Ramp Up Iranian Oil Sanctions Enforcement

Representatives August Pfluger (TX-11) and Jimmy Panetta (CA-19) are creating a new avenue to cut off Iran’s funding for its terrorist proxies by equipping Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to enforce oil sanctions. Senators Joni Ernst and Richard Blumenthal have introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.

Since 2021, Iran has increased its oil revenue by $80 billion, which the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has used to fund Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah.

For nearly two of the past three years, HSI wasn’t able to conduct a seizure of illicit Iranian oil shipments. However, when it is empowered, HSI has a record of success.

“Iran is using its oil revenue to fund terror around the world—including Hamas’ barbaric terrorist attack on Israel. The United States cannot allow this behavior to go unchecked. I am proud to lead bipartisan legislation with Representative Panetta, as well as Senators Ernst and Blumenthal, to provide the Department of Homeland Security HSI with the tools they need to seize illicit Iranian oil sales and ensure this money can no longer be used to fund terrorism.” said Congressman August Pfluger.

“Although there are many sanctions already in place against Iran, there’s too few enforcement mechanisms to stop Iran from selling oil and funding terrorism activities across the Middle East,” said Representative Jimmy Panetta.  “Our bipartisan, bicameral legislation bolsters the ability to enforce those same sanctions with more manpower and increased access to tools that the United States can use to better target and stop the transfer of Iranian oil.  During this time of instability and uncertainty in the Middle East, this legislation is needed not only to enforce the sanctions, but also to counter Iran’s malign actions and enhance security in the region and throughout the world."

“Right now, we are witnessing the chaos Iran-backed Hamas is inflicting on Israel and the world, funded by the IRGC’s illicit oil sales. Instead of allowing Iran’s illegal actions to continue, I’m working to cut the red tape and equip HSI, and its proven record of enforcing sanctions, with the support and resources it needs to go after and stop Tehran. By removing this money from Iran’s hands, we can provide more support to victims of terrorism and pay down our national debt,” said Senator Joni Ernst, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“This bipartisan proposal will establish dedicated resources to stop illicit Iranian oil sales – helping to mitigate Iran’s malign influence and provide more support to victims of terror. Because profits from Iran’s illicit oil directly support Hamas and other terrorist proxies, efforts to crack down on these sales are critically important,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal.

The Iranian Sanctions Enforcement Act provides HSI with the resources to build upon its proven record and enforce sanctions through this legislation, which:

  • Creates the Iran Sanctions Enforcement Fund that would equip HSI to enforce oil sanctions on Iran;
  • Authorizes a one-time investment of $150 million for this fund, which it is required to pay back within 10 years, adjusted for inflation;
    • Under the current law, 75% of funds from U.S. oil seizures go to the U.S. Victims of State-Sponsored Terror Fund,
    • Under the Iranian Sanctions Enforcement Act, the additional 25% would go to the enforcement fund, which would be capped at $500 million, and any additional dollar would help pay down the national debt; and
  • Ensures the authority given to HSI and other agencies to carry out sanctions enforcement cannot be undone by a future president by codifying into law the 2010 Executive Order that established the Export Enforcement Coordination Center.

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