Iran General NewsUS House to take up Iran sanctions next week

US House to take up Iran sanctions next week

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AFP: The US House of Representatives next week will vote on imposing tough new sanctions aimed at forcing Iran to freeze what the West charges is a nuclear weapons program, its leaders said Friday.

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The US House of Representatives next week will vote on imposing tough new sanctions aimed at forcing Iran to freeze what the West charges is a nuclear weapons program, its leaders said Friday.

Lawmakers will take up a bill that means to punish countries and companies that invest in Iran’s energy sector, furnish it with gasoline, or help it develop chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons or advanced conventional arms.

And they will vote on a second measure that targets nations or firms that help Iran, North Korea, or Syria advance their alleged efforts to acquire nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons or develop their missile programs.

The sanctions include freezing a person or company’s US assets, bans on travel to the United States, denial of US government contracts, and restricting access to loans from US banks or entities like the Export-Import Bank.

The two bills will face votes at a time when Democrats and Republicans alike have expressed fears that time is running out before Iran — which denies its seeks nuclear weapons — gets an atomic arsenal.

President Barack Obama has toughened US sanctions on Iran but has drawn fire from some in Congress for opposing legislation designed to cut off the Islamic republic’s central bank from the global financial system.

One of the bills specifically takes aim at Russia, forbidding any “extraordinary payments” connected to the International Space Station until Obama certifies to Congress that Moscow opposes allowing Iran, North Korea, and Syria to develop weapons of mass destruction or missile systems.

Obama would also have to certify that Russia’s space agency has not, during the past year, transferred any technology or services that would help those countries develop such weapons.

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