Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., led a bipartisan effort of 25 U.S. lawmakers last week, introducing the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act to add restrictions to the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, which U.S. President Barack Obama recently extended for another year.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi added his voice to a growing belligerence from Tehran in the wake of the Bayh legislation, telling Press TV economic sanctions are ineffective.
"Sanctions and threats will not intimidate us and especially not affect our national will in following our rights," he said.
The U.S. House of Representatives last week introduced a similar measure, the Iran Diplomatic Enhancement Act, co-sponsored by Reps. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Brad Sherman, D-Calif. Both the House and Senate measures target European businesses operating in the gasoline sector in Iran.
Qashqavi went on to say the proposed legislation was part of an effort by the powerful Israeli lobby in the United States, pointing to ties between Kirk and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Tehran has reacted to mixed messages from Washington, saying renewed and increased economic sanctions on Iran undermine the conciliatory messages offered by Obama.