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S. 269 (114th): Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jan 27, 2015.

Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015

Expresses the sense of Congress that:

it is U.S. policy that Iran not be allowed to develop or acquire nuclear weapon capabilities; Iran does not have an inherent right to enrichment and reprocessing capabilities under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; the goal of international negotiations with Iran should be to conclude a long-term comprehensive solution that will reverse the development of Iran's illicit nuclear infrastructure; and the United States should continue to impose sanctions on Iran and its terrorist proxies, and on Iran and other governments and persons for the procurement, sale, or transfer of technology, services, or goods that support the development of weapons of mass destruction. Directs the President, within five days after entering into a long-term comprehensive solution or any agreement to extend the Joint Plan of Action (signed in 2013 by Iran and the P5-plus-1 countries), to transmit to Congress: (1) the text of the agreement, (2) a verification assessment report, and (3) an economic sanctions relief assessment report.

Prohibits the President, except in certain circumstances, from exercising any waiver of sanctions on Iran or taking any other action to alter or limit the application of sanctions until the date that is 30 days of continuous session of Congress after the President transmits these comprehensive solution and assessment reports.

Reinstates as of July 6, 2015, any sanctions imposed pursuant to statute or executive action that are deferred, waived, or otherwise suspended by the President if the President has not transmitted the comprehensive solution and reports to Congress by that date.

Revises exceptions to certain sanctions with respect to financial transactions for purchases of Iranian-origin petroleum (currently, only crude oil).

Declares that it is U.S. policy to seek to ensure that all countries reduce their purchases of crude oil, lease condensates, fuel oils, and other unfinished oils from Iran or of Iranian origin to a de minimis level by the end of the 240-day period beginning on September 7, 2015.

Amends the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 to authorize a country that purchased petroleum from Iran or of Iranian origin during the one-year period preceding September 7, 2015, to continue to receive a sanction exception on or after the date that is 240 days after September 7, 2015, only if the country reduces its purchases of Iranian or Iranian origin petroleum:

to a de minimis level by the end of that 240-day period; or during the one-year period beginning 240 days after September 7, 2015, reduces such purchases by at least 30% during that 240-day period, and is expected to reduce them to a de minimis level within 2 years after September 7, 2015. Amends the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 to exclude from U.S. entry:

any individual who engages in sanction evasion activities for or on behalf of the government of Iran, any individual acting on behalf of the government of Iran who is involved in corrupt activities of that government or the diversion of humanitarian goods, or any senior official who was involved in the activities of an entity designated for sanctions in connection with Iran's proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or Iran's support for international terrorism. Expands the list of designated senior officials of the government of Iran.

Directs the President to block the U.S. or U.S.-controlled property and property transfers of specified senior officials and family members who received such property from a listed official.

Directs the President to prohibit the opening, and prohibit or impose strict conditions on the maintaining in the United States, of any correspondent account or any payable-through account by a foreign financial institution that knowingly conducted or facilitated a significant currency transaction (including through another person) with or on behalf of the Central Bank of Iran or another Iranian sanctioned financial institution.

Authorizes the President to impose sanctions pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act against any other person that knowingly conducts or facilitates such a currency transaction.

Excludes from such sanctions any transactions for: (1) the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine or medical devices to Iran; or (2) humanitarian assistance to the people of Iran.

Authorizes the President to waive such sanctions for 180 days, with additional 180-day waivers, if important to the U.S. national interest, and if notice is provided to Congress.

Amends the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 to include the construction, engineering, automotive, and mining sectors of Iran within the scope of sanctions.

Designates as entities of proliferation concern, in lieu of certain current entities, any that operate special economic zones, free economic zones, and entities in strategic sectors.

Directs the President to block the property of: (1) entities in strategic sectors, and (2) entities that operate special economic zones or free economic zones.

Defines "strategic sector" as: (1) the energy, shipping, shipbuilding, and mining sectors of Iran; (2) the construction and engineering sectors of Iran (except for projects to construct or engineer schools or hospitals); and (3) any other sector the President determines to be of strategic importance to Iran.

Authorizes the President to suspend the application of sanctions under this Act for 30 days, with additional 30-day waivers, if the President reports to Congress:

that the waiver or renewal is in the U.S. national security interest and is necessary to achieving a long-term solution with Iran; that Iran is not making further progress on its nuclear weapons program and is in compliance with all interim agreements; and on the status of the negotiations toward a long-term comprehensive solution. Authorizes the President to make an exception from the imposition of sanctions for reconstruction assistance or economic development for Afghanistan if in the U.S. national interest and if notice is provided to Congress.

Expresses the sense of Congress concerning budgetary resources for the enforcement of sanctions against Iran.