WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Sanctioning the Iranian petroleum sector is the fourth-best option to get Tehran to abandon its nuclear program, a top U.S. lawmaker on foreign affairs said.
Rep. Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said lawmakers would mark up the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act on Oct. 28.
The act would place sanctions on companies and individuals aiding the Iranian petroleum sector as punishment for a controversial nuclear program.
Berman, a California Democrat, said that he would prefer to seek a course of political dialogue in an effort to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapons program, noting he "strongly" supports the engagement of U.S. President Barack Obama.
His second and third options include U.N. resolutions or other multilateral efforts that could persuade Tehran to change course.
Though he welcomed Iran's decision to offer some transparency following recent high-level talks in Geneva, Switzerland, he said passing the act would give the Obama administration what it needed to deter Iran.
"By passing the (act), the Foreign Affairs Committee will take the first key step to ensure that President Obama is empowered with the full range of tools he needs to address the looming nuclear threat from Iran even as he pursues diplomacy and, if necessary, the multilateral sanctions track," he said.