Blog Post - Iran Matters

Cardin introduces Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015

| Oct. 04, 2015

Sen. Ben Cardin (D, Maryland) formally introduced the Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015 on Thursday, along with eight Democratic co-sponsors. Since publishing a “discussion draft” last month, Cardin removed language related to Iranian production of highly enriched uranium (HEU) but retained sections permitting new terrorism sanctions and increasing defense assistance to Israel.

The bill is co-sponsored by the following senators: Michael Bennet (D, Colorado), Richard Blumenthal (D, Connecticut), Ron Wyden (D, Oregon), Chris Coons (D, Delaware), Chuck Schumer (D, New York), Mark Warner (D, Virginia), Cory Booker (D, New Jersey), and Brian Schatz (D, Hawaii). Apart from Cardin and Schumer, all of the co-sponsors supported the nuclear agreement.

Arguably the key component of the bill remains unchanged: providing for expedited Congressional consideration of terrorism-related sanctions against Iran under two conditions: if Iran either (1) “has directed or conducted an act of international terrorism against the United States” or (2) “has substantially increased its operational or financial support for a terrorist organization that threatens the interests or allies of the United States.”

But other components have been removed, such as the repeated declaration that Iranian production of HEU would be unacceptable to the United States. HEU generally refers to uranium that is enriched to 90% U-235, readily usable in a nuclear weapon.

For example, the comparison below shows that Section 5 – security assistance to Israel – was revised to exclude the HEU trigger:

Discussion draft before and after it was introduced_1

In addition, the requirement that the President report to Congress on the IAEA’s sampling methods at the Parchin facility was removed (see below). Parchin is a military site where the United States and the IAEA believe Iran conducted nuclear weapons research. Last month, Iran, under IAEA supervision, took samples at the facility.

Discussion draft before and after it was introduced_2

A separate section calling for the President to “conclude a multilateral arrangement” among European countries and others to limit arms exports to Iran was also removed, as was a requirement that the President make a formal “certification” before removing an entity from sanctions lists.

No Senate Republican has yet announced support for the bill. The White House said the revised bill is a “good starting point for discussion.”

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Rome, Henry.Cardin introduces Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015.” Iran Matters, October 4, 2015,

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