The United States came one step closer to imposing sanctions on foreign firms that invest in Iran’s oil industries.
The Senate passed the Iran Oil Sanctions Act in a voice vote without debate last week.
The measure, which is supported by the White House, is expeced to pass the House of Representatives in the coming weeks. In memory of the 259 people killed when terrorists blew up Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, the Senate included sanctions on firms that do business with Libya’s fuel industries.
The vote on the measure came on the eve of the seventh anniversary of the bombing.
Under the Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R-N.Y.), sanctioned firms would be denied access to financing sponsored by the Export-Import Bank of the United States and to license for exports to the United States.
U.S. law already prohibits American firms from investing in Iran’s fuel industries.
The president could also prohibit mergers, acquisitions or takeovers involving U.S. companies that might provide Iran with cash, as well as limit funding from American banks to sanctioned firms, according to the measure.
Iran has desperately sought foreign capital to bail out its economy and to finance its nuclear program.
Tehran hopes that foreign investment can make up for what the international community has denied in the areas of trade and credit.
Neal Sher, executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which lobbied hard for the measure, hailed the vote as a “pivotal step in the effort to curb terrorism and the nuclear threat to the free world.”
“The American people are united in finally taking concrete measures to thwart the spread of this brand of evil,” he said.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.