Congress approves new Iran sanctions on oil, shipping sectors

The Congress overwhelmingly passed a new package of sanctions against Iran on Wednesday that aims to punish banks, insurance companies and shippers that help Tehran sell its oil.

The legislation, agreed to by senior lawmakers of both parties, “seeks to tighten the chokehold on the regime beyond anything that has been done before,” said Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The bill now heads to the White House for President Barack Obama’s signature. It builds on oil trade sanctions signed into law by Obama in December that have prompted Japan, South Korea, India and others to slash their purchases of Iranian oil.

The Senate passed the sanctions bill unanimously and the House passed it on a vote of 421-6.

Lawmakers from both parties said they are prepared to take additional steps.

“There is more we can do, more that we will do if Iran doesn’t end its nuclear weapons program verifiably and completely,” said Representative Howard Berman, 


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