RELEASE: House Passes Gottheimer-led Bipartisan Legislation Prohibiting China from Purchasing Iranian Petroleum Products

Targets the Oil Partnership Between “Axis of Evil” Countries, Funding Global Terrorism and Violence

Apr 16, 2024
Press

Above: Gottheimer on the House floor.

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Monday, April 15, 2024, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), urged his colleagues to vote for the Iran-China Energy Sanctions Act — bipartisan legislation he is leading with his Problem Solvers Caucus colleague, Rep. Mike Lawler (NY-17). This legislation, which unanimously passed the House Financial Services Committee, expands sanctions to cover Chinese financial institutions that purchase petroleum products from Iran. The bill also requires an annual determination as to whether Chinese financial institutions have engaged in sanctionable conduct. The bill passed the House by a vote of 383-11.

Video of Gottheimer’s remarks on the House floor can be found here.

“I’m proud to help lead and pass this bipartisan legislation with my fellow Problem Solvers Caucus member, Congressman Lawler. Our legislation holds two members of the ‘Axis of Evil,’ — some of our most dangerous adversaries — Iran and China, accountable for their nefarious activities,”said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), a member of the House Financial Services Committee. “After Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel and as its regime of terror deepens ties to China, we are reminded that they cannot be trusted. Iran has directly, or through their terrorist proxies, killed hundreds of Americans and attacked our bases and our allies in the region. All of this is why we must cut off sources of funding for Iran and protect America, our assets, civilians, and allies across the globe.”

“Iran is the number one state sponsor of terror in the world. For years, they have funded Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, and other terrorist organizations,” said Congressman Lawler (NY-17). “They backed Hamas’ barbaric October 7 attack against Israel – the largest mass murder of Jews in a single day since the Holocaust. And they fired hundreds of rockets at Israel just last weekend. All of this is made possible by the money Iran receives from its illicit oil trade – which has amounted to over $88 billion since President Biden took office.”

“The Iran-China Energy Sanctions Act, along with the SHIP Act we passed last November and which is finally coming up in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee tomorrow, will kneecap Iran’s ability to export murder and instability across the region,” Congressman Lawler concluded. “Enough is enough. We must hold Iran and its backers accountable – especially China, the number one purchaser of Iranian petroleum. These two bills will do exactly that and I urge the Senate to pass them both as soon as possible.”

Gottheimer’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of my bipartisan bill, the Iran-China Energy Sanctions Act, to hold two members of the “Axis of Evil” — some of our greatest, most dangerous adversaries — Iran and China, accountable for their nefarious activities. I’m proud to lead this legislation with my fellow Problem Solvers Caucus member, Congressman Lawler. 

China is Iran’s biggest customer of oil and a major supplier of Iran’s missile and drone program. Despite strict U.S. sanctions designed to curb the Iranian regime’s oil trade, China has tripled its imports of Iranian oil over the past two years. 

As we speak, Iran is using its oil trade with China to bring in a staggering $150 million dollars per day in revenue. By importing millions of barrels of oil a day, China keeps the Iranian regime in business and provides crucial funds for Tehran’s chaos agenda, including missile and nuclear weapons development.   

But China isn’t just providing indirect funding. Reporting last year indicated that China is considering supplying Iran with ammonium perchlorate — a key chemical compound used to propel ballistic missiles. Just three days after an unprecedented attack when Iran launched more than 300 drones, ballistic and cruise missiles at our key, democratic ally Israel, this partnership should sound major alarms.  

If all of this wasn’t concerning enough, China also disregards Iran’s backing of terror groups and their proxies, including the Houthis, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and of course, Hamas.   

Last month, Chinese diplomats met with Hamas after they brutally killed more than 1,200 innocent babies, children, men, women, and the elderly, including Americans — and said absolutely nothing about its barbaric attack on October 7. 

Unlike China, we cannot — and should not — stand by in the face of terrorism. We must vehemently oppose terrorist sympathizers, sponsors, and supporters in all forms. That’s why I’m also supporting HR 6408, which would amend the tax code to terminate the tax-exempt status of terrorist-supporting nations, including those who cheer on and provide material support to Iran and its proxies.  

Hamas relies on support from the Iranian regime, the leading state sponsor of terror. As Iran deepens its ties to China, we are reminded that they cannot be trusted. Iran has directly, or through their terrorist proxies, killed hundreds of Americans and attacked our bases and our allies in the region.  

All of this is why we must pass the bipartisan Iran-China Energy Sanctions Act to cut off sources of funding to Iran.

This bipartisan legislation, which unanimously passed the House Financial Services Committee, expands sanctions to cover Chinese financial institutions that purchase petroleum products from Iran. The bill also requires an annual determination as to whether Chinese financial institutions have engaged in sanctionable conduct. 

We must continue to sanction those who are involved in the import of Iranian oil, including financial institutions. This bill will do just that.  

The Iran-China Energy Sanctions Act is urgently needed to cut off and deny resources to the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism. China can no longer remain Iran’s top customer. 

I will continue to fight against Iran’s growing influence and make sure we do everything in our power to protect the U.S. and its allies, including Israel, from Iran. I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join us to support this commonsense, bipartisan legislation.  

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I yield back. 

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