Friday, June 25, 2010
(Reuters) – Congress on Thursday approved tough new unilateral sanctions aimed at squeezing Iran’s energy and banking sectors, which could also hurt companies from other countries doing business with Tehran.
The House of Representatives passed the bill 408-8 and sent it to President Barack Obama for signing into law. The Senate had approved it 99-0 earlier in the day.
Congress wants to pressure Tehran into curbing its nuclear program, which Washington suspects is aimed at making a bomb.
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U.S. lawmakers from both parties have been pushing for months to tighten U.S. sanctions on Iran. At the Obama administration’s request, they held off until the U.N. Security Council and the European Union agreed on new multilateral sanctions. But the lawmakers then declared that still tougher measures were needed.
“The U.N. sanctions, though a good first step, are quite tepid. And they are tepid because there are other members of the Security Council who want to keep doing that business with Iran. … The United States … has to pass these unilateral sanctions,” Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski said.
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The bill penalizes companies supplying Iran with gasoline as well as international banking institutions involved with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, its nuclear program or what Washington calls its support for terrorist activity.
Full story here.