November 2, 2023

NIAC Statement on House Passage of Radical Sanctions Bill – The SHIP Act (H.R. 3774)

Washington, DC – Ryan Costello, Policy Director with the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement on the House of Representatives pending passage of a radical Iran sanctions bill – the SHIP Act (H.R. 3774) – that risks severe impacts on the global economy:

“The SHIP Act would mandate one of the most radical expansions of sanctions on a large chunk of the global oil and shipping industries which are deeply intertwined with the U.S. economy, in hopes it may tangentially impact Iran’s oil industry. As leading Democrats warned in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, there is a significant risk of this bill raising gas and food prices for ordinary Americans.

“As has become Washington’s constant failed tradition, lawmakers grappling with how to respond to challenges involving Iran are reverting to the same self-defeating exercise: imposing more sanctions that have little impact in confronting Tehran’s rulers and only impose punishment on ordinary people. In the wake of the horrific attack on Israelis and ongoing carnage being inflicted on Palestinians, Congress is moving forward with legislation that avoids any serious effort to address the challenges at the root of the Middle East’s escalating conflicts, does nothing to change Tehran’s calculus, and threatens to impose massive destabilizing consequences for Americans and the global economy.

“The SHIP Act mandates sanctions on any foreign port, refinery, vessel or other entity with any connection to Iranian oil or petroleum products. If enacted, U.S. companies would be prohibited from doing any business, including transferring goods, at many of the world’s biggest ports, including in some of our largest allies and economic partners. As a result, it would disrupt global trade, supply chains, and damage our relations with important allies and partners. 

“The bill includes a Presidential waiver that is highly-qualified and likely unworkable, requiring the President to certify that entities have entirely halted all activities connected to Iran’s oil industry to receive a waiver. By failing to include a sufficient waiver, the Biden administration would be forced to sanction key cogs in the global economy, including ports of major treaty allies amid the ongoing war in Ukraine. The Republican lead for the bill, Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY), even crowed on the House floor about this faulty waiver, declaring ‘There are members of this body that are going to oppose this legislation because it is too strenuous, because it doesn’t give enough wiggle room to the administration. There’s a reason we are not giving wiggle room to the administration.’

“It is a sad state of affairs when so many lawmakers sign off on legislation in knee-jerk fashion without seeming to understand the implications of what it would do. Regrettably, the political pressures and reflexive support for ever-escalating Iran sanctions have blinded Congress to the blowback that sanctions have caused. Trump’s so-called ‘maximum pressure’ approach – and Biden’s failure to chart a different course – has been a disaster for nonproliferation, regional security and hopes for organic change inside of Iran. With the Middle East potentially on the precipice of a major regional war, we don’t need more of the failed sanctions approach that the SHIP Act represents. We urge the Senate to block this bill from moving forward.”


For more on the SHIP Act, please see our memo here: https://www.niacouncil.org/news_publications/memo-the-ship-act-h-r-3774/

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