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H.R. 2718 (117th): Maximum Pressure Act

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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 Dec 2, 2021.

Maximum Pressure Act

This bill expands sanctions and economic penalties on Iran. It also restricts the President from unilaterally lifting or waiving the sanctions or penalties and increases congressional oversight of them.

Specifically, the bill requires the President to impose visa- and asset-blocking sanctions. Additionally, it modifies existing sanctions, including by (1) providing statutory authority for executive orders imposing sanctions; (2) applying sanctions to additional sectors of Iran's economy; and (3) broadening sanctionable conduct to cover, for example, assisting Iran with the acquisition of ballistic missiles and the complicity of Iranian officials in human rights violations in specified countries. The bill also requires reporting on licenses that authorize activities subject to sanctions.

The bill prohibits U.S. representatives at the International Monetary Fund from voting to allow Iran's access to special drawing rights (a currency support tool) and places restrictions on financial transactions with Iran. The restrictions include requiring domestic financial institutions to implement special measures with respect to foreign financial institutions that conduct significant transactions connected to the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (a European mechanism that bypasses U.S. sanctions when carrying out trade with Iran).

The Department of State must maintain the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' designation as a terrorist organization and must designate Ansharallah (or Houthis), which operates in Syria, as a foreign terrorist organization.

The bill also requires reports on U.S. sanctions concerning Iran, the status of Iran's nuclear weapons program, and other matters.