SHAHEEN TO EU: DON’T WAVER ON IRAN OIL SANCTIONS

May 11, 2012

(Washington, D.C.) – Continuing her support for strong sanctions against Iran, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs, today urged European leaders to hold firm on plans to implement broad sanctions against Iran’s oil industry as Iran continues its illicit pursuit of a nuclear weapons program.

“It is critical that the U.S. and Europe present a strong, unified front in our efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Shaheen wrote in her letter to the EU leadership.  “A softened approach will send a mixed message to Iran that will be detrimental to our coordinated efforts.  I urge you to allow these aggressive sanctions to take full effect.”

Shaheen pushed European leaders last year to expand the oil embargo against Iran. The full text of Shaheen’s letter is below:

May 11, 2012

 

Baroness Catherine Ashton

High Representative of the Union for

Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

European Union

Brussels, Belgium

 

CC:         The Honorable José Manuel Barroso, President, European Commission

The Honorable Herman Von Rompuy, President, European Council

 

Dear Baroness Ashton:

 

I greatly appreciate your efforts to build consensus within the European Union to adopt strong sanctions against Iran and to work with the United States and other partners as you consider additional measures.  I share your concern about Iran’s continued illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons.  There should be real consequences for this regime’s decision to continue to develop these weapons of mass destruction.

 

While I applaud the European Union’s decision to issue far-reaching sanctions, I am concerned about recent news reports that current discussions in Europe could result in a decision to relax the provisions of the Iranian oil embargo, which is set to begin in less than two months.  Specifically, reports suggest that European leaders are considering easing the ban on Europe-based insurers from covering ships carrying Iranian oil.  Levying sanctions on broader sectors that help facilitate Iran’s oil exports – such as shipping insurance – is one way to ensure the sanctions achieve their intended impact of slowing or stopping the country’s nuclear activities.

 

It is critical that the U.S. and Europe present a strong, unified front in our efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.  As we approach a second round of discussions in Baghdad in late May, Iran is feeling the effects of international sanctions and has shown a renewed willingness to come to the negotiating table.  A softened approach will send a mixed message to Iran that will be detrimental to our coordinated efforts.  I urge you to allow these aggressive sanctions to take full effect.

 

Thank you for your time, your consideration, and your continued leadership in deepening our transatlantic ties.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Jeanne Shaheen

United States Senator

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