Key US lawmaker mulls new penalties on Iran energy sector

WASHINGTON - A key US senator is close to unveiling legislation that would further isolate Iran by penalizing foreign companies that do any kind of business with an Iranian energy company, including providing services such as insurance and engineering, a congressional aide said on Monday.
In an attempt to prevent major Iranian energy firms, such as Pars Oil and Gas, from profiting from international commerce, Republican Senator Mark Kirk is drafting a measure that would block any company from US financial markets if it continued to deal with Tehran's energy sector, the aide said.
Kirk, one of the architects behind the latest round of US sanctions that President Barack Obama signed into law in December, and other US lawmakers have been trying to force the administration to get tougher with Iran because of its nuclear program.
The latest measure being crafted by Kirk would state that the Iranian energy sector should be regarded as a "zone of proliferation concern with which no legitimate international business should be conducted," according to the congressional aide.
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