Iran Sanctions Would Expand Under Senate Bill

Senate bill seeks to strengthen existing sanctions and calls for new restrictions

Senate Bill 1881 Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013
The Essentials
1. President Obama says the interim deal Iran struck with the U.S. and other world powers in November to temporarily freeze its nuclear program—in exchange for limited relief from sanctions—is a crucial step toward a far-reaching agreement to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. But some Democrats and Republicans in Congress, suspicious of Iran’s intentions, are pushing for even tougher sanctions they say will help force the country’s leaders to unwind their enrichment program.

2. Diplomacy has been used by Iran to “buy time … to make nuclear advances,” the bill argues, while sanctions have brought Iran to the negotiating table. Seeking to strengthen sanctions already in place, the bill calls for further restrictions on Iran’s ability to sell oil to other countries. New sanctions would be imposed on Iran’s mining, engineering, and construction sectors. It also calls on the U.S. to “stand with Israel” if it must take defensive military action against Iran.

3. The bill’s most controversial provision says that to lift sanctions, the president must first certify that Tehran has not tested short-range ballistic missiles, has not supported terrorism against the U.S. or its allies, and will dismantle its “illicit nuclear infrastructure”—although it doesn’t spell out how he would do that. With help from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–Nev.), the White House has succeeded in shelving the bill, at least temporarily.

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