By Farah Stockman, Globe Staff
UPDATED, 7:23 p.m. -- Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown has filed a bill that would keep executives and controlling shareholders of companies that do business with Iran out of the United States.
Dubbed the "No Entry for Supporters of the Iranian Regime Act of 2010," the bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to deny visas for foreigners who violate US sanctions on Iran, including the executives of foreign companies that have invested more than $20 million in Iran's oil or gas sector.
Brown's bill, which he quietly filed in September, would enable the Secretary of State to send letters to CEOs warning them that their access to the United States could be cut off if they continue their activities in Iran.
But some sanctions experts say the bill could cause outrage in Europe and Asia, like the Helms-Burton Act of 1996. That law, which applied to companies operating in Cuba, prompted bitter complaints from Mexican and Canadian officials. The European Union requested a World Trade Organization hearing about it.
"It's Helms-Burton revisited," said Robert Clifton Burns, a sanctions expert at Bryan Cave LLP, who said he did not expect the bill to pass. "Does it really accomplish anything to keep these executives out?" Burns asked."What are they going to say: I'm not going to make a $30 billion investment in Iran so that I can go to Disney world?"
But a statement posted to Brown's Web site lauded the bill as "another tool as we work to prevent the Iranian regime from crossing the nuclear threshold."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.