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Senate Votes to Create Counter Strategy Against 'Hostile' Iran

The Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would make it U.S. policy to counter Iran's “growing hostile presence in the Western Hemisphere.”
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 12/13/2012, 10:33 PM

Iranian crude oil supertanker "Delvar" is seen anchored off Singapore
Iranian crude oil supertanker "Delvar" is seen anchored off Singapore
Reuters

The United States Senate passed a bill Wednesday evening that would make it U.S. policy to counter Iran's “growing hostile presence in the Western Hemisphere.”

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) introduced the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act, H.R. 3783, which states that it is U.S. policy to use a comprehensive strategy to counter Iran's growing hostile presence in the Western Hemisphere by working with U.S. allies in the region to deter threats to U.S. interests by Iran, The Hill reported.

The bill states that, “According to the Department of State, Hizbullah, with Iran as its state sponsor, is considered the ‘most technically capable terrorist group in the world’ with ‘thousands of supporters, several thousand members, and a few hundred terrorist operatives,’ and officials from the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Qods Force have been working in concert with Hizbullah for many years.”

The bill directs the Secretary of State to develop a plan “to address any efforts by foreign persons, entities and governments in the region to assist Iran in evading United States and international sanctions.”

The plan should “protect United States interests and assets in the Western Hemisphere, including embassies, consulates, businesses, energy pipelines and cultural organizations including threats to United States allies.”

It should further “support United Sates efforts to designate persons and entities in the Western Hemisphere for proliferation activities and terrorist activities relating to Iran, including affiliates of the IRGC, its Qods Force, and Hizbullah, under applicable law including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.”

It adds that the plan should “address the vital national security interests of the United State in ensuring energy supplies for the Western Hemisphere that are free from the influence of any foreign government that would attempt to manipulate or disrupt global energy markets.”

The Senate passed the measure by voice-vote Wednesday evening. The House passed the same bill in September.