The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 2709, the "Iran Missile
Proliferation Sanctions Act of 1997" and, for the reasons stated below, the
President's senior advisers would recommend that the President veto H.R.
2709, if it is presented to him in its current form.
The Administration is committed to fighting terrorism and taking steps to
halt the transfer of missile technology to rogue nations. U.S. leadership
is critical to the required international effort to attack this problem.
H.R. 2709, however, would not improve the ability of the United States to
halt the transfer of missile technology to Iran. On the contrary, H.R.
2709 would weaken the United States ability to persuade the international
community to halt such transfers to Iran. The bill's broad scope,
retroactivity, and indiscriminate sanctions would undermine U.S.
nonproliferation goals and objectives.
Current law provides an adequate basis for the United States to impose
sanctions on foreign entities that further Iranian ballistic missile
capabilities. The standard of evidence, sanctions, and reporting
requirements of H.R. 2709 are too broad and vague and would be
counterproductive to convincing foreign governments to control
missile-related trade with Iran. For example, the standard of evidence is
too low and could result in the imposition of an unknown number of
erroneous sanctions on individuals or business entities. Imposition of
erroneous sanctions could not only harm U.S. political and economic
relationships with other nations, but could dissuade foreign governments or
persons from cooperating with the United States to prevent the transfer of
missile technology to Iran.
In addition, while the Administration supports S. 610, the "Chemical
Weapons Convention Implementation Act of 1997," it strongly opposes the
inclusion of the bill in H.R. 2709. S. 610 has strong bipartisan support
and it should be enacted by the Congress as a free-standing bill without
Adoption of the Levin amendment would improve the legislation by altering
its retroactive provisions. However, because very harmful provisions would
remain, the President's senior advisers would still recommend that he veto
this version of H.R. 2709.
H.R. 2709 could affect direct spending and receipts; therefore, it is
subject to the pay-as-you-go requirement of the Omnibus Budget
Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1990. OMB's preliminary scoring estimate is
that the PAYGO effect of this bill is zero. Final scoring of this
legislation may deviate from this estimate.