US lawmakers take next step on new Iran sanctions

WASHINGTON - Lawmakers on the US Senate Banking Committee plan to vote on a new round of sanctions targeting Iran's energy sector, aimed at choking funds they suspect Tehran uses to develop nuclear weapons.
The committee released details of its 61-page bipartisan bill late on Monday, and lawmakers will consider the measures and vote on them at a hearing on Thursday.
"Iran's continuing defiance of its international legal obligations and refusal to come clean on its nuclear program underscore the need to further isolate Iran and its leaders," said Tim Johnson, the Democratic chairman of the committee.
The package comes on the heels of new banking sanctions that the Obama administration is only beginning to implement - a package signed into law on Dec. 31 - as well as tough new embargos by European nations.
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