Dow Jones Business News

April 17, 1997

U.S. Sen. D'Amato Against Waiving Iran Sanctions For Turkey

WASHINGTON -- Senate Banking Chairman Senator Alfonse D'Amato said Thursday that he would oppose any national security waiver of the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act, or ILSA, for Turkey, in case the U.S. determines that the NATO ally violated ILSA in signing a $22 billion contract to purchase natural gas from Iran.

The New York Republican authored the sanctions law.

The State Department said last week that it doesn't have enough information yet to determine if the contract violates the sanctions law. If it finds the contract does violate the law, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright could recommend sanctions or she could suggest a national security waiver of sanctions.

'Right now I would be opposed to granting that waiver,' D'Amato said in response to a question from reporters.

'It would send the wrong signal and lead people to believe we are not committed to a policy of containing those countries that are engaged in the exporting of terrorism,' he said.

D'Amato also said he doesn't want the European Union to receive any 'blanket waivers' as a result of an agreement worked out last week whereby the U.S. will work with the E.U. towards meeting the terms spelled out in ILSA for receiving a waiver of the law.

The E.U. and the U.S. agreed to work towards this goal during both parties' talks on resolving an unrelated dispute over the anti-Cuba Helms Burton law.

'Any suggestion that the European Union should be granted a blanket waiver without following the stipulations of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act is a mistake,'' D'Amato told the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East Affairs.

'It should be clear that the terms in the ILSA law for granting a waiver with regard to Iran are very simple,' D'Amato said, quoting from Section 4.C of the law.

'If the country where the company to be sanctioned is situated imposes substantial measures, including the imposition of economic santions, than a waiver can be granted,' he said.

The senator told the subcommittee that his bill is working because there is 'little or no new foreign investment' in Iran.

-By Laurie Lande