January 28th, 2010
09:45 PM ET
4 years ago

Senate passes bill to expand U.S. sanctions against Iran

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Senate passed a bill Thursday that would allow President Barack Obama to expand sanctions against Iran to pressure the Islamic republic to drop its nuclear weapons ambitions.

The House passed its own expanded sanctions bill last year. To become law, the two versions would have to be merged and the final version approved by both chambers before going to Obama for his signature.

Under the Senate measure that passed on a voice vote, Obama could impose new U.S. sanctions that would target Iran's gasoline imports and oil refining capacity, as well as other aspects of Iran's oil industry. It also would ban most direct imports and exports between Iran and the United States, along with other steps aimed at preventing business ties with some Iranian companies and individuals.

"I believe that passing this legislation is critical to send Iran the message that the United States is serious about keeping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement.

Iran contends its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but the United States and other Western nations fear Iran wants to develop nuclear weapons. Israel has called Iran's nuclear program the major threat facing its nation.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobby group, lauded the Senate's approval of a sanctions bill, saying Congress should pass a final version as soon as possible.

"Iran's possession of nuclear weapons capability would be a devastating blow to America's national security interests," the group said in statement.  It called on the U.S. government and its allies to "impose biting diplomatic and economic pressure to try and peaceably prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and avoid confronting more distressing alternatives."

Israel has previously bombed Iranian nuclear facilities. Iran is holding out on a United Nations-backed deal on its nuclear program that includes enriching uranium for non-weapons use.

The country had until the end of 2009 to accept the deal offered by the "P5 plus one" - permanent U.N. Security Council members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany. Instead, Iran countered, giving the West until the end of January to accept its own proposal.

On Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CNN that she was seeking international support for imposing U.N. sanctions on Iran.

"We want as much support as we can possibly muster, and we want to be sure that we are aiming at the mindset of the Iranians so that they understand that the international community will not be turning a blind eye to their continuing violations of Security Council obligations of International Atomic Energy Agency regulations," Clinton said.


Filed under: Iran • Senate
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. El Kababa

    Now if Iran was smart, some big iranian corporation would form a not-for-profit political organization here in the USA. They could name it "Americans for Fairness" or something like that. They could pump a lot of money into it. The organization, in turn, would pour millions in campaign contributions to Senate and House candidates who will vote against sanction on Iran.

    The new Supreme Court decision says that Iran is guaranteed that right under the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which reads:

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    I guess if I had gone to Law School, I would understand why that Amendment seems to say something that I can't see in those few words.

    January 28, 2010 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  2. Auntie Sam Height

    Ah...the Talmudic warmongers attempting to get us stuck in yet ANOTHER war for Israel. Two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan apparently weren't enough for these shekel-grubbing traitors...

    January 28, 2010 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  3. The people of the United States have spoken

    Israel wants us to go to war with Iran...so, we will eventually go to war with Iran. Israel wanted us to go to war with Iraq, and we did, like the obedient little puppies we are. What Israel wants is what Israel gets, and we just do what we are told. Right now, Iran is the biggest threat to their existance, now that Iraq's threat has been removed. Israel wants the U.S. to go to war with Iran, so we will. It's inevitable. (Not sure what country will be next) maybe Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, who knows.) Let's take care of one threat at a time, I;m sure they're thinking, using their puppet slaves to accomplish their mission for them.

    January 28, 2010 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  4. Greg, MN

    The US ought to let Israel take care of Iran... light em up boys!!

    January 28, 2010 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  5. lifelong democrat

    Ahmadinejad doesn't care, he has no respect for Obama. Chavez and Castro knew Obama is weak. This sanction will not work like previous sanctions for Iran.

    It's better to be feared than to be look as weak.

    January 28, 2010 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  6. TOTUS 4 PRESIDENT

    Duh, Iran has had the strongest US sanctions imposed upon them for about 15 years, and is has yielded ZIP, ZERO, NADA.

    Sounding tough but having a backbone of linguini is how Obama is viewed by our enemies. Meanwhile, the centrifuges spin, and the bombs are getting ever closer while Barry plays golf and loses more initiatives, elections and cred.

    January 28, 2010 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  7. joe kiloz

    Thank goodness, the Iranians are sure to drop everything now.

    January 28, 2010 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  8. A. Smith, Oregon

    Now, thanks entirely to the two Supreme Court selections by Bush jr., Iran has around 4 years to pour millions of dollars into American corporations which they have worked with in the past to heavily influence all future elections and place key candidates into American offices by placing that money into the campaign coffers of their choice.

    January 29, 2010 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  9. MatthewDetroit

    Why Barack Is a LIar...

    He has Lobbyist on his staff...
    The Stimulus bill did not work although he claims he saved 2000 jobs.
    He lied about the Supreme Court Ruling... they never ruled to allow foreign companies to donate to political candidates... another lie.

    He never spoke of terrorism although we have had 3 major events... Ft. Hood, Christmas day, KSM in New York, Terrorist in New York...

    What a lousy rep for a president.
    He even let the Christmas Terrorist Lawyer Up.... His state department made that decision and said it was okay...

    His attorney general is trying to say he can prosecute terrorist in New York when the guys have already been prosecuted....

    And HOW, HOW can he sit there and attempt to intimidate our Supreme Court Justices....

    Barack is a joke.

    January 29, 2010 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  10. MatthewDetroit

    Apparently Barack claims to be an attorney who was a professor of law...

    Yet he does not know his constitution or constitutional law....

    Much like how he claims to be saving 15 billion a year per year for the next 10 years.....

    Yet he is going to spend 150 billion Plus on the new stimulus bill...

    Is he starting all over again....

    This guy is a joke....
    He blames the banks but his guys were running the banks..
    He glames wallstreet but his guys were running wallstreet.

    He controls ALL of congress yet he still blames the republicans...

    Your days are over barack you lost and you are a loser...

    Oh yeah you lied about nuclear power and drilling...you will never do anything... no one trusts you.

    January 29, 2010 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  11. MatthewDetroit

    Well Barack... I thought you were going to have an intelligent open dialogue with Iran and solve all the worlds problems.

    Apparently your naive handling has not done much for anyone at all.

    Apparently you are not quite the statesman you thought you were.

    Maybe you should tell Iran that you were a community organizer in Chicago. Maybe you can have Rahm Emanuel send them a couple dead fish and make them listen to you. Maybe that will get their attention. Maybe you can put Geithner in charge of their banks and ruin their economy. Do us all a favor.... send them Pelosi and Reid.

    January 29, 2010 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  12. MatthewDetroit

    This Much Is New...

    Well Barack... I thought you were going to have an intelligent open dialogue with Iran and solve all the worlds problems.

    Apparently your naive handling has not done much for anyone at all.

    Apparently you are not quite the statesman you thought you were.

    Maybe you should tell Iran that you were a community organizer in Chicago. Maybe you can have Rahm Emanuel send them a couple dead fish and make them listen to you. Maybe that will get their attention. Maybe you can put Geithner in charge of their banks and ruin their economy. Do us all a favor.... send them Pelosi and Reid.

    January 29, 2010 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  13. Spider

    Oh yeah. That'll stop them Barry. Shake your finger at them and tell them they are BAD!!!

    January 29, 2010 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  14. Watchdog

    Let me get this straight...The senate votes to raise the debt ceiling using the never elected voted out of office vote of Kirk (CROOK-MA)
    and that doesn't make the CNN ticker?

    CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION NOW!!!
    BREAK UP CNN!!!!

    January 29, 2010 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  15. so rich even obama couldn't hurt me but you middle class folk should worry

    oh no sanctions!!!! that's so scary! wow we are not playing around!

    January 29, 2010 01:48 am at 1:48 am |