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House votes to sanction Iran

The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to toughen sanctions against Iran.

The Iran Counter-Proliferation Act bans American firms from using foreign subsidiaries to bypass current sanctions against Iran’s energy sector; bans nuclear dealings with entities that trade with Iran’s nuclear sector, a measure that would cut off nuclear cooperation with Russia; bans free-trade agreements with countries investing in Iran; and tightens the president’s ability to waive the sanctions.

The 397-16 vote was well ahead of the 290 votes the House would need to override a presidential veto, but the bill’s companion in the Senate is stalled and likely won’t be considered this year.

The American-Israel Public Affairs Committee strongly praised the bill’s passage as a step toward discouraging Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons ambitions.

“To change Iran’s course, the United States and the international community must use every economic, diplomatic and political tool available,” AIPAC said in a statement. “U.S. sanctions have already helped to discourage investment in and banking cooperation with Iran, and further international action may be able to persuade the Iranian government to comply with its international obligations.”

The bill was initiated by Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), the Jewish chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

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