US Congress Passes Tough New Iran Sanctions

Published: June 25th 2010
in News » World

US Congress
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US Congress easily passed new and expanded sanctions against Iran on Thursday, a move that is intended to send Tehran a clear signal that its alleged quest for nuclear weapons will not come without economic penalties.


The unilateral sanctions go directly after Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, the country’s banking sector and its importation of gas and refined energy goods.


The Senate and the House of Representatives voted in favour of the new measures with little hesitation, with the Senate passing the legislation 99-0 and the House 408-8. President Barack Obama will reportedly sign the new bill in the coming days.


The move by Congress comes on the heels of the passage by the UN of a fourth round of sanctions against Iran that target the Revolutionary Guard and Iran’s importation of ballistic missiles and nuclear technology. Diplomatic efforts by the White House for the last year have made little progress in convincing Iran to come clean on its nuclear activities, making its program transparent and subject to full IAEA monitoring.


AP reported that Senator John McCain (R-Ariz) described the bill as the “most powerful sanctions ever imposed by the Congress on the government of Iran.”


He said foreign firms will have to decide, "Do you want to do business with Iran, or do you want to do business with the United States?"


The legislation’s major backers, Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn) and Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif) said, “First and foremost, we must stop Iran from continuing its illicit nuclear program. Our legislation will provide the administration with powerful new tools to press Iran to change course.”


The White House is pleased with the bill, a compromise between House and Senate versions, and is calling it a "multilateral strategy to isolate and pressure Iran."


This week, Obama officials testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, saying that sanctions that are enforced can have a strong impact.


"Iran is not 10-feet tall. Sanctions create real problems for them,” said Undersecretary of State William Burns.


The legislation was met with support from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA). JCPA President Dr. Conrad Giles and Chair Rabbi Steve Gutow called the new sanctions a “major step forward in efforts to prevent Iran from continuing its pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

"The United States and its allies are at a critical juncture in our efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability, and these sanctions will place pressure on the Iranian regime, in a peaceful way, to work with the international community to resolve the current disputes. Today's bipartisan vote demonstrates the continued U.S. commitment to preventing a nuclear armed Iran," they said in a statement.


Related articles: (Ahmadinejad, Iran, uranium, nuclear program, IAEA, fuel exchange)

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