What Congress Does Agree On: Iran Sanctions
The Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Human Rights Act of 2012 came out of House-Senate discussions, passed House muster with broad bipartisan support and will now go to President Barack Obama to be signed into law. The bill imposes sanctions on companies that do business with Iran's energy sector, including offering insurance, goods or services.
"This bipartisan, bicameral agreement seeks to tighten the choke hold on the regime beyond anything that's been done before," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said on the House floor. "Unless the executive branch fully implements these measures immediately, the regime is likely to regain its footing."
Members hailed the sanctions as the best deterrent to Iran developing nuclear weapons and as a way to punish the regime for documented human rights abuses.
On Tuesday, the Obama administration announced a new series of sanctions intended to prevent Iran from circumventing existing crack downs on its central bank. There have also been recent reports on the affects of existing sanctions, which include growing frustration over the rising price of chicken, usually a cheap staple of Iranian cuisine.
Few members opposed the sanction bill, namely Reps. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio.
"What this is doing is essentially ending any negotiated deal and putting us on a path toward war," Kucinich said. "Why are we doing this? Do we not have enough wars in the country?"
To that, Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., countered that the resolution is "not the next step to war. This is the alternative to war."
This post has been updated to reflect the Senate's passage of the bill. Originally published Aug. 1, 6:29 p.m.
Photo: In this photo released by the official website of the Iranian supreme leader's office and taken on Tuesday, July 24, 2012, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, center, leads prayer, in Tehran, Iran. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prays at, left, and judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, second left. (AP Photo/Office of the Supreme Leader)