House Foreign Affairs Getting in on Sanctions


The leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee introduced legislation yesterday to impose sanctions on activities supporting Iran’s missile and drone program ahead of the October expiration of the United Nations missile ban on Iran. 

After Oct. 18, 2023, Tehran will no longer face bans on activities supporting its missile program. A separate U.N. arms embargo on Iran, barring it from purchasing weapons such as fighter jets and tanks, expired in October 2020. 

Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and ranking Democrat Gregory Meeks (NY), along with committee members Joe Wilson (R-SC) and Dean Phillips (D-Minn), introduced the bill.

“Even with the UN restrictions in place, Iran’s missiles and drones are targeting US troops, allies and partners across the Middle East and increasingly fueling Vladimir Putin’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine,” the lawmakers said.

The bill would impose mandatory property blocking and visa sanctions on anyone involved in the supply, sale, or transfer of, or support for, Iran’s missiles and drones including by:

  • acquiring or transferring Iranian missiles and drones;
  • providing Iran or its proxies with items that may contribute to the development of missiles or drones;
  • participating in joint missile or drone development with Iran or its proxies; and
  • importing or exporting any restricted missile or drone-related materiel to or from Iran. The sanctions also would extend to the adult family members of designated persons, as well as actors providing significant support to, or engaging in transactions with designated persons.

The legislation would require the Administration to submit a report on Iranian missiles and drones to Congress, specifically outlining:

  • an Administration strategy to prevent missile and drone-related restrictions under Annex B to UNSCR 2231 from lapsing in October;
  • an assessment of the impact a lapse would have on Iran’s malign activities and potential financial benefits to the regime;
  • a description of the role sanctioned Iranian airlines are playing in the regime’s weapons proliferation, including as relates to missiles and drones; and
  • a list of violators of UN missile UN missile and drone-related restrictions on Iran and international  efforts to hold them to account.

Restrictions Already in Place

The potential impact of these measures is unclear as most if not all restrictions proposed are already in place by executive action.

Executive Order 13382, signed by the President on June 29, 2005, is an authority aimed at freezing the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters, and isolating them financially. Designations under E.O. 13382 prohibit all transactions between the designees and any U.S. person, and freeze any assets the designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

The Iran-Iraq Nonproliferation Act of 1992 sanctioned foreign entities that provided Iran with WMD technology or destabilizing numbers and types of conventional weapons.

by Executive Orders 13094 and 13382


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