[JURIST] Iran Sunday condemned a bill signed into law [White House press release] by President Bush Saturday authorizing US sanctions against foreign governments that provide support for Iran's nuclear program or contribute towards the country's armament. The Iran Freedom Support Act [text, PDF], HR 6198, specifically sets out the policy of the United States "not to bring into force an agreement for cooperation with the government of any country that is assisting the nuclear program of Iran or transferring advanced conventional weapons or missiles". The measure appears to be aimed at states like Russia and China that have provided Iran with technology and arms and have resisted calls for international sanctions against Tehran in connection with its nuclear program, which Washington claims is directed at the development of nuclear weapons. In a message to Congress [text] Saturday, President Bush said:
My Administration is working on many fronts to address the challenges posed by the Iranian regime's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, support for terrorism, efforts to destabilize the Middle East, and repression of the fundamental human rights of the citizens of Iran. We are engaged in intense diplomacy alongside our allies, and have also undertaken financial measures to counter the actions of the Iranian regime.The sanctions policy under the Act is set to remain in effect until Iran suspends nuclear enrichment, agrees to refrain from new nuclear developments and complies with international verification procedures. The new law also provides US support for pro-democracy broadcasts into Iran, although it explicitly does not authorize the use of military force against the country. Iran parliament (Majlis) Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel was quoted in press reports as saying that the measure would hurt the United States more than Iran, and that Iran was used to dealing with sanctions. The US has applied sanctions against the country since 1979, when radical students seized the American embassy in Tehran and held its staff hostage for 444 days [Wikipedia backgrounder]. AP has more. Xinhua has additional coverage.
I applaud Congress for demonstrating its bipartisan commitment to confronting the Iranian regime's repressive and destabilizing activities by passing the Iran Freedom Support Act. This legislation will codify U.S. sanctions on Iran while providing my Administration with flexibility to tailor those sanctions in appropriate circumstances and impose sanctions upon entities that aid the Iranian regime's development of nuclear weapons.
12:44 PM ET - Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency has since reported a Majlis [official website] statement condemning the sanctions as inteference with Iran's domestic affairs and inconsistent with US commitments under Articles 1 and 10 of the Algiers Accord [PDF] that ended the hostage crisis as well as contrary to Articles 7 and 2 of the United Nations Charter (1945).