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(photo credit: AP)
President George W. Bush signed legislation on Saturday that would impose mandatory sanctions on entities that provide goods or services for Iran's weapons programs.
The Senate passed the bill with no debate, two days after the House approved the measure following a debate over the wisdom of toughening unilateral sanctions on Tehran at the same time the United States was trying to work with its UN partners on a multinational approach to Iran's nuclear threat.
The measure sanctions any entity that contributes to Iran's ability to acquire chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.
In a statement Saturday, Bush said, "This legislation will codify US sanctions on Iran while providing my administration with flexibility to tailor those sanctions in appropriate circumstances and impose sanctions upon entities that aid the Iranian regime's development of nuclear weapons."
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Republican, said in a statement that the action "strengthened one of our most important tools in the fight to keep nuclear weapons out of the mullahs' hands."
He said it would encourage the administration to use all available leverage over Russia, a partner in Iranian energy projects, to gain Russian support for multilateral sanctions against Iran.