US Congress delays Iran sanctions
US Congressional leaders have decided to delay a new round of sanctions against Iran, waiting for multilateral embargos against Tehran’s nuclear program by the United Nations.
Negotiations have been underway to combine separate Iran sanctions bills — passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate — into one bill for US President Barack Obama to sign into law.
The House has called for the finalization of the proposed measure by the end of May, which is expected to tighten US sanctions on Tehran and companies worldwide that do business with Iran.
However, Democrat chairmen of the negotiating committee Senator Chris Dodd and Congressman Howard Berman said on Tuesday that they would wait to see whether the UN Security Council would pass a US-brokered draft resolution on new sanctions on Iran.
“We have always said that tough multilateral sanctions are the most effective means to persuade Iran to cease its efforts to develop a nuclear weapons capability,” AFP quoted Berman and Dodd as saying in a joint statement.
The democratic leaders, however, vowed to pass “a package of tough US sanctions in the latter half of June.”
The bills already approved by the House and Senate would target companies worldwide that supply gasoline to Iran and prevent them from doing business with the United States.
This is while the US-proposed draft of UN sanctions target Iranian banks and call for the inspection of vessels suspected of carrying cargo related to Iran’s nuclear or missile programs.
The US and its Western allies have been making efforts to put a halt to Iran’s uranium enrichment activities, charging that Tehran is seeking to produce nuclear weapons.
The Iranian government, however, strongly rejects the allegations, insisting that its nuclear program is aimed at the civilian applications of the technology such as meeting the increasing energy demands of the country and medical research.