US Congress approves tougher Iran sanctions
Both chambers of the US Congress passed legislation Wednesday to impose tougher sanctions on Iran in an effort to force that country to end its nuclear ambitions, DPA reported.
The House of Representatives passed the measure by 421 votes to six, while the Senate passed the bill later in the day by unanimous consent.
The votes constituted rare agreement in the current atmosphere of bitter partisanship in Washington.
"Today, the House again made it clear that the United States will use every tool at our disposal to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi said.
"A nuclear Iran is a threat to the security of the United States, the region, and the world, and today's measure is a sign of our unwavering resolve and unyielding commitment to deter Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon," she said.
The new legislation would bolster sanctions against Iran by allowing the government to blacklist the country's energy sector and those who do business with it by targeting banks, shipping firms and insurers.
"At a time when Iran continues to defy the international community with its nuclear weapons program, it is critical we continue to tighten our sanctions regime," Senate Majority leader Harry Reid.
"Iran continues to try to evade existing sanctions. But this legislation, in combination with newly announced measures by the Obama administration, closes loopholes and stops the use of front companies, or financial institutions to get around international sanctions."