The Senate unanimously approved tough new sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank amid fears of Tehran developing a nuclear weapon.
The 100-0 vote Thursday was for an amendment to the defense bill. Lawmakers had argued that concerns about a nuclear-armed Iran outweighed reservations about driving up oil prices and hurting Americans at the gas pump.
Sens. Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Mark Kirk of Illinois offered the amendment that would target foreign financial institutions that do business with the Central Bank of Iran, barring them from opening or maintaining correspondent operations in the United States. It would apply to foreign central banks only for transactions that involve the sale or purchase of petroleum or petroleum products.
Administration officials cautioned that driving up oil prices could mean more money for Iran.