Westmoreland Cosponsors the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act
By Kevin Doran
October 3, 2012
Late last month, the House passed a bill cosponsored by Congressman Westmoreland, H.R. 3783, the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act of 2012, without a single Democrat objection. It truly is a great example of bipartisanship at work.
With the unrest in the Middle East, this bill is needed now more than ever. If enacted, it would help protect the U.S. and its ally’s assets and interests in the Western Hemisphere, including our embassies, consulates, businesses, energy pipelines, and cultural organizations. The bill states that it should be the policy of the United States to counter Iran’s growing hostile presence and activity in the Western Hemisphere by working together with U.S. allies and partners in the region to deflect threats to our interests by Iran. H.R. 3738 will also focus on making sure no one or no foreign government is tampering with our energy pipelines or disrupting global energy markets.
H.R. 3783 requires Secretary of State to conduct a detailed threat assessment of Iran’s growing activity in the Western Hemisphere, so that they can develop a strategy to monitor and address those threats. The Secretary of State will then report to the Congress on the implementation and evaluation of that strategy. Findings in the bill show that Iran is pursuing cooperation with Latin American countries by signing economic and security agreements in order to create a network of diplomatic and economic relationships. We are slowly seeing increasing Iranian influence in Latin American- from new TV networks and embassies, to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s frequent trips to Latin America.
This bill doesn’t stop with just our concerns outside of America, but protecting within as well. H.R. 3783 also requires a more secure US border with Mexico and Canada to prevent Iranian operatives from entering and invading our soil and international sanctions. Press stories over the past year have detailed growing cooperation between Iran and South American drug traffickers. With Fast and Furious still being investigated, our borders are a top security priority. Infiltration threats like these show the importance of being proactive, rather than reactive when it comes to our security.
As American embassies and consulates are becoming a target in the Middle East, we need to make sure that our interests are safe. In passing H.R. 3783, the House is showing that we are standing up to Iranian threats and that we will counter their hostile threats at home. The best defense is a great offense, and we need to make sure that all our bases are covered to prevent any hostility on home soil. As a member of the House Intel Committee, Congressman Westmoreland will continue to work for strengthened security for all our Ambassadors, Consulates, and troops, and ensure our interests overseas are safe and help make it known that America won’t back down.
Kevin Doran is Congressman Westmoreland’s deputy chief of staff and handles his defense and homeland security issues.