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The U.S. Senate approves tougher sanctions against Iran

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The U.S. Senate approved a new package of oil and economic sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program before negotiations between Tehran and the six major world powers (P5 +1) in Baghdad.
The measure, passed unanimously on Monday, would apply to foreign banks doing business with oil and Iran's national oil companies. It also includes measures to close any loopholes in existing sanctions that could allow Iran to continue selling its crude oil.

House of Representatives passed its own version of the bill in December and now the Senate and House must reconcile their differences in legislation. The powerful pro-Israel lobby AIPAC group strongly supports the proposed sanctions.

According to Republican Senator Mark Kirk, co-author of the bill, the movement aims to put pressure on the Islamic Republic to abandon its nuclear energy program.

However, a CIA analyst for the Middle East and Persian Gulf said that sanctions would be against pre-productive negotiations in Baghdad.

"The greatest need now to get an agreement is not to pile on more sanctions, but rather to convince the Iranians that if they make concessions sanctions will be eased," said Paul Pillar, now a research security professor at Georgetown University.

The unilateral decision of the United States is part of the forthcoming negotiations between Iran and the P5 +1- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States and Germany-in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad Wednesday.

The U.S., Israel and some of its allies accuse Tehran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear energy program.

In an effort to build pressure on the country, the U.S. and the EU recently imposed tough financial sanctions against Iran and oil.

Iran has repeatedly denied the allegations about its nuclear activities, arguing that as a signatory agrees to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
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