Senate to vote on more stringent Iran sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is expected to vote today on a new package of tough sanctions on Iran targeting the Islamic Republic's domestic industries.

If approved, it would mark the third time in less than a year that Congress has hit Iran with punitive measures designed to cripple its economy and thwart Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez and Illinois Republican Mark Kirk introduced the package of penalties that would sanction transactions with Iran's energy, port, shipping and ship-building sectors. The legislation also would penalize the sale of commodities such as graphite, aluminum and steel, all products that are crucial to Tehran's ship-building and nuclear operations.

Tehran has found ways to bypass existing international sanctions, such as Turkey's use of gold to pay for natural gas imports.

The Menendez-Kirk measure would allow the president to impose sanctions in the sale or transfer of precious metals.

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