News / Middle East

US House Approves Tough New Sanctions on Iran

Petrochemical plant at an Iranian port. (2011 photo)  New sanctions target Iran's oil-dependent economyPetrochemical plant at an Iranian port. (2011 photo) New sanctions target Iran's oil-dependent economy
Petrochemical plant at an Iranian port. (2011 photo)  New sanctions target Iran's oil-dependent economy
Petrochemical plant at an Iranian port. (2011 photo) New sanctions target Iran's oil-dependent economy
Cindy Saine
CAPITOL HILL — The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed tough new economic sanctions designed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.  The bill passed the House by a vote of 421 to 6.  It was crafted with the Senate, which is expected to approve the measure this week.

House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican from Florida, hailed the unity in both chambers of Congress behind a bill to take more action against the Tehran government.

"This bipartisan, bicameral agreement seeks to tighten the choke hold on the regime beyond anything that has been done before," Ros-Lehtinen said.

The bill would blacklist anyone who mines uranium with Iran, provides oil tankers to Iran or provides insurance to the state-run shipping line.  The bill would also make it difficult for Iran to repatriate money earned from oil sales, depriving the country of 80 percent of its hard currency income.  It also would prohibit any commercial activity with Iran's oil and natural gas sectors.

The United States and several European Union countries say that depriving the Tehran government of oil revenues is a way of deterring Iran from its suspected efforts to develop a nuclear weapon.  Iran says that its nuclear program is for peaceful, civilian purposes.

The bill enjoys broad and enthusiastic support among Democrats and Republicans.  But there were two strong voices of dissent -- Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Republican Representative Ron Paul of Texas.

Paul said the calls for tough sanctions amount to an act of war, and that it sounds all too familiar to him.

"It is so similar to what we went through in the early part of this last decade when we were beating the war drums to go to war against Iraq.  And it was all a facade.  There was no danger from Iraq.  So this is what we are doing, beating the war drums once again," Paul said.

Paul and Kucinich said the sanctions would hurt the Iranian people, and that they would put the United States on a path to war with Iran.

Democratic Representative Howard Berman of California strongly disagreed, pointing out that the International Atomic Energy Agency also is concerned about Iran's nuclear program.

"This is not the next step to war.  This is the alternative to war.  Iran having a nuclear weapon is unacceptable for many, many reasons.  It means the end of the nonproliferation regime," Berman said

The House vote comes one day after President Barack Obama announced additional sanctions against Iran, targeting its oil and petrochemical sector and two foreign banks that have been conducting transactions on Iran's behalf.  The White House says Iran has an opportunity through diplomacy to meet international obligations on its nuclear program, but that if Tehran fails to meet its obligations, the global community will keep ratcheting up the pressure.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Nora from: USA
August 01, 2012 8:41 PM
hey Obama... you start to look ridiculous... ANOTHER sanction... ??? idiot

In Response

by: Anonymous
August 02, 2012 2:58 AM
Do you know what sanctions do Nora? It cripples their economy, it is a great tactic before a war. Let them weaken for a few years first.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America