US Senators Offer Bill to Block Iran Dollar Use

US Senators Offer Bill to Block Iran Dollar UseUS Senators Offer Bill to Block Iran Dollar Use

Two Republican US senators who oppose the nuclear agreement with Iran introduced a bill on Wednesday that would keep Iran from gaining even indirect access to the US financial system or using US dollars in business transactions.

The measure introduced by Senators Mark Kirk and Marco Rubio came amid media reports that US officials were moving toward allowing such transactions. President Barack Obama has denied having such plans.

The legislation would prohibit the president from issuing any license for conducting an offshore US dollar clearing system for Iranian transactions or providing any such system with US dollars, Reuters reported.

It would also impose secondary sanctions on any financial institution found to be participating in any offshore dollar clearing system with Iran.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner acknowledged the United States was advising banks and other businesses about how to conduct business with Tehran without running afoul of US authorities, but that does not involve converting money to dollars.

"These banks don't want to violate existing sanctions," he said, "but they are allowed to under certain condition to do business with Iran, so we do consider it as an obligation on how to counsel them."

Along with some of Obama's fellow Democrats, congressional Republicans unanimously opposed the deal announced in July in which Iran agreed to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

Several lawmakers have been working since on legislation to keep tight controls on Iran, especially over its repeated ballistic missile tests since late last year.

The issue is particularly potent in this US election year, when Americans will pick a new president, and every member of the House and one-third of senators are up for reelection. The three remaining Republican presidential candidates have all vowed to tear up or back away from the nuclear deal, which Obama administration officials say would be calamitous.

Rubio suspended his 2016 presidential campaign last month, and Kirk's Senate reelection race is seen as one of this year's most competitive.