US senators propose even tighter sanctions on Iran

Move comes after fear that firms overseas, particularly in China, are evading US penalties for doing business with Tehran.

Iranian Gas Platform 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Iranian Gas Platform 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON - US senators proposed further tightening sanctions on Iran on Wednesday, reflecting fears that companies overseas, particularly in China, are evading US penalties imposed last year for doing business with Iran.
The bipartisan group said they want to step up pressure on Tehran to stop its suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons, highlighted by data this week from the UN nuclear watchdog.
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Iran said its uranium enrichment program is for generating peaceful nuclear energy, but the West suspects it is aimed at making a bomb.
The US sanctions law passed last year tried to pressure Iran to drop its nuclear work by targeting its energy and banking sectors.
The new bill would strengthen that law by exposing joint business ventures with Iranian energy entities to sanctions, the senators said.
It also would require the State Department to respond to requests from lawmakers about sanctions investigations -- making clear that some think they aren't getting enough information.
And it would penalize any company that sells goods for military applications to Iran, North Korea or Syria, by freezing assets and denying access to the US banking system.