WASHINGTON - New sanctions aimed at reducing global trade with Iran in the energy, shipping and metals sectors may soon be considered by the U.S. Senate as part of an annual defense policy bill, senators and aides said on Tuesday.
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The sanctions legislation, which has not yet been unveiled, comes during a crowded calendar as the Senate races to deal with deficit reduction, the defense bill and other pressing issues by the end of the year.
The package would build on current U.S. sanctions, passed almost a year ago, that have slashed Iran's oil revenues. The goal is to pressure Tehran to stop efforts to enrich uranium to levels that could be used in weapons.
Tehran has said its nuclear program is strictly for civilian purposes.
Democratic Senator Robert Menendez and Republican Mark Kirk have crafted new sanctions that would punish foreign banks that handle transactions for a broad sector of industries, including shipping, ports, ship building and more types of energy.