Congress signaled its disapproval of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with a vote to tighten sanctions against his government.
The swift rebuke Tuesday was a rare display of bipartisan cooperation in a Congress bitterly divided on the Iraq war. It reflected lawmakers' long-standing nervousness about Tehran's intentions in the region, particularly toward Israel _ a sentiment fueled by the pro-Israeli lobby whose influence reaches across party lines in Congress.
"Iran faces a choice between a very big carrot and a very sharp stick," said Rep. Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "It is my hope that they will take the carrot. But today, we are putting the stick in place."
The House passed, by a 397-16 vote, a proposal by Lantos aimed at blocking foreign investment in Iran, in particular its lucrative energy sector. The bill would specifically bar the president from waiving U.S. sanctions.