Professor Orde Kittrie recently testified before a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade.
The March 12 hearing focused on a bill entitled "The Iran Sanctions Enabling Act of 2009," which would encourage and facilitate state pension fund divestment from companies doing energy-related business with Iran. The bill was introduced by Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services, and Kittrie testified at Frank's invitation.
"We are at five minutes to midnight when it comes to stopping Iran from acquiring the capacity to launch a nuclear-armed missile," Kittrie testified. "If President Obama is to persuade Iran to negotiate away its illegal nuclear program, he will first need more leverage than what the Bush Administration has left him."
"The time is now to change Iran's cost-benefit analysis," Kittrie said.
Kittrie noted that Iran's heavy dependence on foreign trade leaves it potentially highly vulnerable to strong economic sanctions and suggested that Congress can increase U.S. leverage over Iran by putting foreign countries and companies that keep the Iranian economy afloat to a business choice, between doing business with Iran and doing business in the United States.
He recommended that Congress quickly pass both the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act of 2009 and other legislation "that will increase U.S. leverage over Iran in additional important ways."
Kittrie is a leading expert on nonproliferation sanctions. He has within the last year testified on nonproliferation sanctions issues before both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. He is also the author of several scholarly articles on nonproliferation and sanctions, including an article entitled "New Sanctions for a New Century: Treasury's Innovative Use of Financial Sanctions," that is forthcoming in the Pennsylvania Journal of International Law.