House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., pushed hard for the passage of the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act Tuesday, despite a pledge from the Islamic republic to send most of its nuclear material outside the country.
Under Monday’s agreement, which was negotiated by Turkey and Brazil, Iran would ship the vast majority of its uranium to Turkey and receive enriched uranium for its medical reactor in return. That is still too much fissile material for the Majority Leader. “They will retain 20% of the enriched uranium necessary to pursue their nuclear armed intentions,” Hoyer said, “We think that’s unacceptable.”
The sanctions legislation would level heavy penalties on Iran’s lucrative energy sector, making it harder for Iran to finance its nuclear ambitions.
Hoyer says he has talked with the conference committee chairs, Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., and Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., about moving the measure out of committee this week. He then hopes to arrange a final vote on the floor next week before the Congress adjourns for its Memorial Day recess.