Iran vote set for Senate next month

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Senate leaders promised a vote on Iran sanctions legislation as early as next month.

The legislation "would impose new sanctions on Iran’s refined petroleum sector and tighten existing U.S. sanctions in an effort to create new pressure on the Iranian regime and help stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," U.S. Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate majority leader, said Thursday during a news conference with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who originally sponsored the legislation. "I want everyone to know that I am committed to getting this legislation to the floor sometime after we return in January," Ried added.

Consideration of the legislation was delayed in part because of major health care reform legislation passed Thursday and because Kerry wanted to closely examine Obama administration requests to make it easier for the president to waive the legislation and to remove parts that might diminish the support of other nations for multil-lateral international sanctions.

It is not clear whether Kerry would press his committee to reshape the legislation along those lines before it gets to the floor.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed similar legislation earlier this month.

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