Growing Momentum for Iran Sanctions in Congress, But Not So Much at the U.N.

James Phillips /

The Senate yesterday passed a bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran and on companies that assist Iran’s oil industry. The legislation, S.2799, targets companies that supply Iran with gasoline and other refined products or help it to expand its refinery capacity. Although Iran possesses the world’s third largest oil reserves, it must import approximately 40 percent of its gasoline supplies because of a lack of refinery capacity. The House voted to pass similar legislation last month by a vote of 412-12.

The Senate vote came the day after nine senators wrote a letter urging President Obama to take stronger action to escalate pressure on Iran over its suspect nuclear efforts. The letter, which urged the administration “to do everything that is necessary to stop Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapons capability in the critical months ahead,” was signed by Republican Senators Jon Kyl, John McCain, Johnny Isakson, and David Vitter, independent Joe Lieberman, and Democratic Senators Evan Bayh, Robert Casey, Charles Schumer, and Benjamin Cardin.