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July 22, 2008 

Under Secretary Mancuso Delivers Keynote Speech on Iran to Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security Mario Mancuso today presented a keynote speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy entitled "Confronting the Challenge of Iran: Comprehensive Solutions for a Comprehensive Threat."

The speech focused on the U.S. approach to dealing with Iran's threat, which currently includes "energetic diplomacy, targeted financial, export control and other economic measures, and a vigorous counter-proliferation posture." Under Secretary Mancuso indicated that "as a last, reluctant resort, the military option still remains on the table."

Under Secretary Mancuso also outlined the Bureau of Industry and Security's (BIS) role in dealing with the U.S. response to the Iran threat, which is to "deny the Iranian regime access to dual-use goods that would support their nuclear program, harm U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq, or otherwise undermine our security interests in the region." Specifically, he indicated that BIS is involved in the following four key areas to address the Iranian challenge:

1. BIS is refining the list of items that are controlled to ensure that BIS is focused on sensitive items. Undersecretary Mancuso observed that "because very little can be traded today with Iran, this initiative operates indirectly, but powerfully, by focusing attention and resources to our global non-proliferation efforts."

2. To enhance the export control system’s overall effectiveness, BIS is providing more information to private sector stakeholders about customers around the world that raise concerns.

3. BIS is "sharpening" its enforcement efforts "to focus on those areas of greatest concern to us: proliferators, terrorists, and nations of illicit trans-shipment concern." He noted that every day, "BIS special agents work closely with other federal law enforcement agencies, including the Department of Justice, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, to conduct investigations and punish violations of [U.S.] export control regulations." He also noted that BIS agents regularly work with the national security and intelligence community to provide analytic support to broader national security efforts.

4. BIS is working with partners and allies around the world to enhance their system of export controls in order to eliminate gaps in the system and to maximize the effective impact of U.S. efforts.

Under Secretary Mancuso also took the opportunity to make a case for reauthorization of the lapsed Export Administration Act (EAA) by noting that reauthorization would bolster U.S. diplomatic efforts around the world to encourage other countries to adopt their own export control laws. He noted that "it is more difficult to make a credible and persuasive case to other nations to enact effective export controls when our own country does not have a permanent dual-use export control law on the books."

Finally, Under Secretary Mancuso concluded his speech by stating:

The United States remains committed to seeking a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the comprehensive threat posed by Iran, including by administering a vigorous and effective export control regime. Our sincere hope is that our combined efforts—along with those of our partners—will persuade Iran to pursue a new course. There is a path, just as Libya has found, for Iran to improve its relations with the international community, including the United States. But that path must represent a real change in behavior on the part of Iran — one that rejects deception, lying and terror — and instead embraces accountability, rule of law, and respect for the sovereignty of its neighbors.

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