Sponsor terror, lose business: Sanctions against Iran and Libya up for renewal

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A five-year extension of ILSA was proposed May 25 and already has the support of almost 200 lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"Iran has been continuing to threaten the national security of our nation," said Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R-N.Y.), chair of the Middle East subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee. "Without ILSA, these countries would be even more dangerous."

The State Department said earlier this month that Iran is "the most active state sponsor of terrorism." Iran also is targeted because it actively opposes the Arab-Israeli peace process and seeks to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

"Billions of dollars that would have been invested in making the money machine for Iran, which is their oil and gas production, have not been invested as a result of ILSA," former Sen. Alphonse D'Amato (R-N.Y.), the original sponsor of the legislation, said in testimony before Gilman's subcommittee.

By the Iranian government's own account, the law has "led to the disruption of the country's economic system, caused a decline in its gross national product, weakened the country's ability to deal with international leaders and impeded credit transactions," according to a 1998 report submitted to the United Nations.

Libya is included in the act because it refuses to acknowledge state responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.

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