House Backs Tough Sanctions on Iran

The House on Wednesday endorsed harsher sanctions on Iran as it seeks to weaken Tehran economically and derail its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The overwhelming votes of 410-11 and 418-2 were largely symbolic, however, as the Senate was not expected to act on the legislation in the few remaining days of the congressional session.

Separately, Congress was poised to back a sweeping defense bill that already included crippling sanctions on foreign financial institutions that do business with Iran's Central Bank, a provision that the Senate backed unanimously last week.

Determined to show their hawkish stand on Iran and pro-Israel credentials, House lawmakers voted for two bills that would strengthen current sanctions while expanding the list of companies and individuals subject to penalties.

The legislation builds on sanctions that Congress overwhelmingly passed —and President Barack Obama signed — last year. Those penalties targeted exports of gasoline and other refined petroleum products to Iran and banned U.S. banks from doing business with foreign banks providing
services to Iran's Revolutionary Guard. The United Nations and the European Union have also imposed sanctions on Iran.

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