Politics

EXCLUSIVE: Congressman Introduces ‘No Defense Contracts For Terror Profiteers Act’

REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter

A new bill set to be introduced Friday by Rep. Peter Roskam and co-sponsored by Jackie Walorski aims to prevent the Department of Defense (DOD) from awarding contracts to companies that do business with Iran.

If passed, companies that want to do business with the DOD would have to certify they are not conducting a significant amount of business with Iranian nationals designated by the Department of the Treasury. The intent of Roskam’s bill is to signal to companies they can either do business with the U.S. or Iran, but not both.

The bill intends to specifically target Iranian entities with connections to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the paramilitary organization that operates under Iran’s supreme leader. It would apply to any Iranian individual named on the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control’s (OFAC) specially designated nationals and blocked persons lists. The IRGC is well-known for funding and coordinating with Iran’s various terrorist proxies across the globe, such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

“This is common sense. If a company subsidizes terrorism, it should not be eligible to receive taxpayer dollars in the form of DOD contracts,” Roskam told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The targeting of IRGC-related entities is intentional because the organization is intimately tied to the Iranian economy. Alireza Nader, a policy analyst with the RAND Institute, describes the IRGC as the “most powerful economic actor” in Iran. The organization controls hundreds of Iranian companies, ranging from the finance to energy sectors, which appear to be private at first glance but are in reality dominated by the group’s leadership. There are now concerns some of billions of dollars of money Iran is set to receive thanks to last July’s nuclear deal will go to the IRGC and proxy companies.

Roskam and Walorski’s original intent was to amend the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2017 with their provision, however, it was blocked Thursday by Democrat opposition during the mark-up process. Roskam and Walorski hope after they introduce the bill on the House floor it will subsequently be added to the NDAA as an amendment once the NDAA is also on the floor.

“I look forward to offering the ‘No Defense Contracts for Terror Profiteers Act’ as an amendment to the NDAA once it hits the House floor and expect it to receive widespread support,” said Roskam.

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