Kinzinger reintroduces bipartisan bill to stabilize Iraq, sanction Iran

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) recently reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would impose sanctions on any Iranians who threaten the peace or stability of Iraq or its government.

Sanctions under the Preventing Destabilization of Iraq Act of 2019, H.R. 571, also would apply to several terrorist organizations and their leaders, who are largely trained and funded by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to Rep. Kinzinger’s office.

“Over the last year, we have watched the security situation in Iraq devolve, as Iranian proxies and militias work to influence the coalition government in Baghdad,” the congressman said last month. “We must ensure that the Iranians are not given a free pass to meddle in the affairs of the Iraqi people.”

Sanctions including asset blocking are included in H.R. 571. For instance, if enacted, the bill would permit the president to exercise all powers granted to him by the International Emergency Economic Powers Act “to block and prohibit all transactions in all property and interests in property of a foreign person” if such assets are “in the United States, come within the United States, or are or come within the possession or control of a United States person,” according to the text of the bill in the congressional record.

Rep. Kinzinger introduced H.R. 571 on Jan. 15 with lead original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY). The duo originally introduced the same-named H.R. 4591 in December 2017, a proposal the U.S. House of Representatives approved on Nov. 27, 2018. However, that bill couldn’t advance in the U.S. Senate before the 115th congressional session ended.

“We will not tolerate the destabilizing efforts of this maniacal regime, and by reintroducing this bill, we take an important step in pushing back against these bad actors,” Rep. Kinzinger said referring to his efforts with Rep. Suozzi.

“Iraq faces a myriad of economic and political challenges that, left unaddressed, could throw the country and wider region into chaos,” Rep. Suozzi said. “Corruption is rampant, further compounded by Iranian backed militias trying to take roles in influencing Iraq’s political system. We need to stand with Iraqis that want to root out corruption and malign foreign interference in their internal affairs.”

The newly reintroduced H.R. 571 has been referred for consideration to both the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee and the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.