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U.S. sanctions on Iran lack 'bite'

May 17, 2011 at 4:15 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 17 (UPI) -- A bill introduced by the U.S. House of Representatives puts "bite" into sanctions targeting the Iranian regime, a co-sponsor said.

A bill introduced by U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and ranking member Howard Berman, D-Calif., is intended to close perceived loopholes used by U.S. President Barack Obama to avoid enforcing a comprehensive set of sanctions signed into law in 2010.

"U.S. policy toward Iran has offered a lot of bark but not enough bite," said Ros-Lehtinen in a statement. "This new bipartisan legislation would bring to bear the full weight of the U.S. by seeking to close the loopholes in existing energy and financial sanctions laws, while increasing the type and number of sanctions to be imposed."

She added there was "no time to waste" as Iran continues to pose a "critical" threat to U.S. security interests.

A review of the Ros-Lehtinen proposal by Foreign Policy magazine finds that only two companies have been sanctioned in the 2010 legislation and one of them was an Iranian state-owned corporation.

Similar legislation is pending in the U.S. Senate.

Both measures come as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad faces mounting internal pressure for apparent disagreements with the country's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

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