IRAN AND LIBYA SANCTIONS ACT OF 1996 (House of Representatives - June 18, 1996)

Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from Wisconsin [Mr. Roth], chairman of our Subcommittee on International Economic Policy and Trade.

Mr. ROTH. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman, my chairman, for yielding time to me.

Mr. SPEAKER, first let me commend the gentleman from New York [Mr. Gilman] and the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Archer] for their work on this issue.

No one can question their commitment to fighting terrorism.

Moreover, there is no doubt that Iran and Libya are rogue states.

The leaders of these regimes have violated every standard of acceptable behavior.

I share the goal of turning Iran and Libya away from terrorism, away from making weapons of mass destruction and away from brutality against their own people.

But I believe this legislation is a step backward not forward.

In my judgment, this bill will not work, for three reasons.

First, economic sanctions simply do not work in today's world when the United States acts alone.

Sanctions did not work against Vietnam. They have not worked against Cuba. And they have not worked against China. Iran has 65 million people and a $300 billion economy.

Libya has 5 million people and a $33 billion economy.

Neither country can be isolated, geographically or economically. In both countries, exports are growing. From 1988 to 1994, Iran's exports grew nearly 50 percent, to $19 billion. Libya's exports grew nearly 10 percent, to $8 billion.

The reality is, none of Iran's or Libya's major trading partners will go along with our sanctions. Not Germany, not France, not Italy, not Spain, not Japan.

Without their cooperation, how will our sanctions ever work?

This brings me to the second flaw in this bill.

This legislation would impose a secondary boycott on our closest allies. The sponsors argue that the bill will force Europe to choose between trading with us and trading with Iran and Libya. This will never work.

The only effect of this bill has been to unify the European Union--all 15 members--against our policy toward Iran and Libya.

If this becomes law, we should expect blocking statutes to prevent European companies from complying. Aside from Europe, the Muslim countries of the Middle East, South Asia, and the Caucasus will not comply.

Look what is happening with Iran. Pakistan now has an economic alliance with Iran.

Kazakhstan and Armenia have started a new joint venture with Iran to develop a huge oil field and build a pipeline.

We have invested a lot to cultivate good relations with these former Soviet Republics.

Are we going to impose sanctions and throw away all our work over the past 5 years? And if we do sanction these countries, how will they respond?

This legislation is not isolating Iran or Libya--it is isolating ourselves. No one should be surprised. After all, the Arab League boycott of Israel has been a total failure.

We and the Europeans all prevented our companies from complying. The same thing will happen with this legislation.

Finally, this bill is a mistake because it provides the leaders of Iran and Libya with a convenient excuse for their own failures. Both regimes have inflicted great suffering on their people.

The elites siphon off more and more money to prop up their regimes.

But as the discontent rises among the Libyan and Iranian people, Gaddhafi and the Ayatollahs will just point to the United States and say: `See what the Americans are doing to you.'

Mr. Speaker, our goal should be to change Iran's and Libya's behavior.

But whatever we do, it has to be effective. We need our allies with us, not against us.

There was a time when the United States could sound the alarm and Europe would rally to our side. That day is over.

Economic sanctions do not work when they are unilateral. If we enact this bill, we will take a step backwards.

Iran and Libya will still be rouge regimes. And we will have jeopardized our relations with the very countries whose support we need to eventually reach the goal of turning Iran and Libya away from terrorism. This bill will pass--but what will be the result?

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