WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate Wednesday night unanimously approved harsher economic sanctions on Iran and sent the measure to President Barack Obama.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the stronger restrictions were needed because Iran "continues to defy the international community with its nuclear weapons program," Roll Call reported.
The Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent, the Washington publication said.
"This legislation expands our existing sanctions on Iran's energy sector, and imposes new sanctions targeting shipping and insurance," Reid said. "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."
The House of Representatives had passed the compromise measure earlier.
"This important legislation significantly expands the president's authorities to apply additional and even tougher sanctions targeting the financial and energy institutions that support Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, its nuclear program and its support for terrorism," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said. "By closing loopholes in the existing sanctions regime, this measure will tighten the economic noose and authorize dramatic new sanctions on Iran's energy sector."
The measure, meant to prevent Iran from benefiting from its sale of oil, covers everyone with ties to the country's petroleum, petrochemical or natural gas industries. It also affects those who provide goods, services, infrastructure, technology or insurance to Iran's oil and natural gas sectors.
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