WASHINGTON — A number of bills targeting Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program advanced in the US Congress.
The US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday approved and sent to the full House a bill backed by Reps. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), the chairman of the committee, and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), its senior Democrat, that would authorize sanctions against any business undertaking substantial dealings with Iran.
Such sanctions would greatly broaden existing legislation, which principally targets Iran’s energy sector.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee praised its advance and noted that it had 344-co-sponsors, a number that virtually guarantees its passage. “AIPAC urges the House to quickly pass the legislation,” it said in a statement.
There is no equivalent bill yet in the Senate.
Separately, a slate of Republican senators led by Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced a bill on Tuesday that would ban the purchase of goods from any entity that the president determines is “owned or controlled” by the government of Iran.
The Senate also was set to vote Wednesday evening on a nonbinding resolution that reaffirms support for Iran sanctions and expresses support for Israel as it contends with Iran in the region.