House votes to have Treasury Department publish Iranian leaders assets

Treasury Department officials must publish a report chronicling the financial assets of Iran’s top leaders, under a bill that passed the House on Wednesday.

The legislation, which passed 289-135, must still clear the Senate before President Trump can sign it into law. It’s a potential boon to Iranian dissidents against the regime, who stand to gain insight into corruption by top officials.

“Iran’s top regime leaders — the Supreme Leader and the country’s top political and military brass — have amassed huge wealth through their tyrannical rule and corrupt and covert structure,” Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, said upon introducing the legislation. “Reports have indicated these funds are being used to support and sponsor terrorism around the region and to undermine our own national security interests. Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, cannot be trusted and it’s important for the security of the region and for the United States for these secret funds to be exposed publicly to the world.”

It’s the second time Poliquin’s bill has cleared the House, passing in 2016 despite a veto threat from then-President Barack Obama. It received 280 votes at the time, with just 42 Democrats supporting. On Wednesday, in the absence of an incumbent White House’s opposition, the legislation gained 56 Democratic votes.

Obama’s influence was still felt by some members of the Democratic conference. Rep. Maxine Waters in particular, invoked his veto threat to criticize the legislation. She quoted the Obama team’s complaint that the legislation might undermine by the Iran nuclear deal.

“The true purpose of this legislation is to create reputational risk for companies that might seek to do legitimate business with Iran,” the California Democrat said. “For this reason, the bill would be a strategic mistake, as its report would undoubtedly be seized upon by Iran as an intentional effort to discourage international investment by Iran, which would be viewed y Iran — and likely by the major world powers who joined us in the JCPOA as well — as a violation of the express U.S. commitment under the nuclear deal not to interfere with the full realization of the relief provided to Iran under the accord.”

Poliquin rebuffed that objection. “There are approximately 70 to 80 top political and military leaders in Iran who control about one-third of their domestic economy,” he said on the House floor. “While the corruption has grown in Iran, the average citizen there earns the equivalent of $15,000 dollars per year. Mr. Speaker, the citizens of Iran and the people of this world should know how much wealth has been accumulated by those that sponsor terrorism and what that money, sir, is being used for. And companies across the globe that are looking to do business with the world should understand what they might be getting into.

Under the bill, the Treasury Department’s report will have to be published in Iran’s three main languages. “I think with social media and with the networks of Iranian opposition groups, here in the states and there, I think they will be able to see it,” a House Republican aide said.

Source » washingtonexaminer

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