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H.R. 5631, Iran Accountability Act of 2016

Floor Situation

On Thursday, July 14, 2016, the House will likely consider H.R. 5631, Iran Accountability Act of 2016, under a closed rule. H.R. 5631 was introduced on July 7, 2016, by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and was referred to the Foreign Affairs Committee in addition to the Financial Services, Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform, Ways and Means, and the Intelligence Committees.


Summary

H.R. 5631 would hold Iran accountable for its state sponsorship of terrorism, its human rights abuses, and its ballistic missile program. Major provisions are included below. 

Title I

  • Requires the President to impose sanctions on 1) any official, agent, or affiliate of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and any person[1] owned or controlled by the IRGC and 2) individuals associated with Mahan Air, an Iranian airline
  • Strengthens the identification of, and imposition of sanctions on, persons that support or conduct certain transactions with the IRGC. For example, H.R. 5631 increases the frequency in which the President must submit a report to Congress on these persons from every 180 days to every 60 days, and it limits the Presidential waivers on sanctions imposed on such persons to 60 days.
  • Requires the Secretary of the Treasury to establish, maintain, and publish an IRGC Watch List in the Federal Register that includes entities that either have an IRGC ownership interest or on which the IRCG influences its actions.
  • Extends reporting requirements on the use of certain Iranian seaports by foreign vessels and use of foreign airports by sanctioned Iranian air carriers from December 31, 2016, until December 31, 2018.

Title II

  • Requires the President to place sanctions on  1) persons that have provided material support to Iran in the development of Iran’s ballistic missile program 2) individuals listed in specific UN Security Council Resolutions pertaining to Iran’s nuclear program 3) sectors of Iran’s economy involved with the development, or transfer to Iran, of ballistic missiles and technology and 4) persons affiliated with the Aerospace Industries Organization, the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, the Shahid Bakeri Industrial Group, or any agent or affiliate of such organization or group.

Title III

  • Establishes special measures to reduce money laundering concerns. Measures include requiring a covered financial institution to apply special due diligence measures to its correspondent accounts to guard against the improper indirect use by Iranian banking institutions

Title IV

  • Expands the list of person involved in human rights abuses by requiring the President to submit a report to Congress on persons  that have committed or facilitated human rights abuses on behalf of the Government of Iran
  • Requires the President to place sanctions on 1) the Supreme Leader and President of Iran, Iranian Ministers, and other government officials 2) individuals who have participated in a terrorist attack or the kidnapping or politically motivated detention of a U.S. citizen, and 3) financial institutions that engage in certain transactions on behalf of persons involved in human rights abuses or that export sensitive technology to Iran
  • Authorizes the Sectary of State to provide assistance to individuals and entities working in Iran to support and promote the rule of law, good governance, civil society, and economic opportunity in Iran. This authority expires on December 31, 2020.
  • Requires the President to designate a Special Coordinator on Human Rights and Democracy in Iran within the Department of State to coordinate activities that promote human rights, democracy, political freedom, and religious freedom.
  • Requires the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Voice of America services broadcasting to Iran to provide a programming surge to strengthen civil society by promoting democratic processes, respect for human rights, and freedom of the press and expression.
  • Requires the President to submit a report to Congress on U.S. citizens detained by Iran or groups supported by Iran no later than 90 days after enactment, and every 180 days thereafter.

Background

For more than two decades, Congress has developed and passed strong economic sanctions against Iran in response to Iran’s nuclear program, chemical and biological weapons programs, development of ballistic missiles, and support for terrorism.  These statutory sanctions brought the Iranian regime to the negotiating table to discuss the parameters of its nuclear energy and weapons programs.

On July 14, 2015, Iran and the six nations that have negotiated with Iran over its nuclear program (the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany—collectively known as the P5+1) finalized the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). However, Iran’s ballistic missile program and support for terrorism continue to remain a serious threat to the U.S. and its allies in the Middle East and Europe. The 114th Congress has introduced several pieces of legislation, some provisions of which have been included in H.R. 5631, to address these and related concerns, such as Iran’s human rights abuses.[2]


Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate is currently not available.


Staff Contact

For questions or further information please contact Molly Newell with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 2-1374.

 

[1] In H.R. 5631, “person” is defined as an individual or entity (I.E. any corporation, business association, partnership, trust, society, or any other entity.)
[2] See the United States Institute of Peace’s “Iran Primer” for a list of legislation introduced in the 114th Congress 

114th Congress