A bill that will extend economic sanctions against Libya and Iran for another five years is being forwarded by the US Republican Congressman Benjamin A. Gilman, who chairs the House International Relations Committee and the Subcommittee on the Middle East.
The Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA), originally passed in 1996 and set to expire in August, allows the president to impose sanctions on foreign companies investing in Iran and Libya‘s oil and gas sectors, by limiting their ability to export goods to the United States.
Gilman said that he and his colleagues were proposing to renew sanctions because Iran continues to threaten the US national security, as President Bush certified to Congress in March. He added that although Libyans stand convicted of bringing down Pan Am Flight 103, the Libyan government has failed to take responsibility for its actions in this matter, as required by the UN Security Council.
The ILSA has drawn criticism from energy companies, who argue the sanctions keep US companies from helping Iran develop new energy facilities including pipelines, refineries and drilling rigs. Gilman, however, insisted the law does not affect American companies, which are already barred from doing business in Iran.
A total of 17 Senators and 63 Congressmen already have agreed to co-sponsor legislation that would renew ILSA. In the House, the bill was co-sponsored also by Howard L. Berman, a California Democrat and Republican majority leader, Dick Armey. In the Senate, the bill was introduced by Senators Charles E. Schumer, a New-York Democrat, and Gordon H. Smith, an Oregon Republican. ― (MENA Report)
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