House, Senate agree on enhanced Iran sanctions

Congressional negotiators have settled on a bill enhancing Iran sanctions, and President Barack Obama announced new sanctions targeting fronts for Iran.

“This bipartisan, bicameral Iran sanctions legislation strengthens current U.S. law by leaps and bounds,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a chief sponsor of the bill, said in a statement released after House and Senate negotiators finalized the legislation July 30.

“The bill sends a clear message to the Iranian regime that the U.S. is committed, through the use of sanctions, to preventing Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold.”

Obama administration officials likely will cite the enhanced sanctions bill, which was expected to pass both houses in its final version this week, in their efforts to persuade Israel not to take military action against Iran in the coming months.

On July 31, Obama also introduced new sanctions that target fronts for Iranian entities already subject to sanctions.

Singled out for citation were the Bank of Kunlun in China and Iraq’s Elaf Islamic Bank.

Separately, an Israel Project poll released July 31 found that eight in 10 Americans see Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program as a threat to the United States and its allies, with 39 percent seeing it as a “very big” threat and 41 percent seeing it as a moderate threat.

The July 18-19 poll of 800 likely voters, by Public Opinion Strategies, revealed that 78 percent of voters support tough sanctions against Iran. — jta