The US Congress on Saturday was poised to act swiftly on new penalties against Iran if international talks on Teheran's nuclear program show signs of faltering, with lawmakers talking about trying to block gas and refined petroleum exports to the Isalmic republic, possibly causing serious disruptions in the lives of ordinary Iranians.
"If we want to get their attention, we have to do something real: sanction Iran's gasoline imports," said Rep. Ted Poe, a Texas Republican, in a speech on the House floor. "That's where Ahmadinejad is vulnerable," he said, referring to Iran's president.
Sen. Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, is one of several lawmakers working on plans to expand current penalties.
"Congress must equip (US) President (Barack) Obama with a full range of tools to deal with the threats posed by Iran," said Dodd, a Democrat, who said his bill would include extending current restrictions on Iran's financial institutions, imposing new trade bans and exacting penalties for entities exporting certain refined petroleum products to Iran.
His committee plans a hearing on the subject Tuesday.