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Fri Nov 9, 2012, 04:35 AM

senators mull tougher iran sanctions

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_US_IRAN_SANCTIONS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-11-09-03-47-05

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Lawmakers are working on a set of new and unprecedented Iran sanctions that could prevent the Islamic republic from doing business with most of the world until it agrees to international constraints on its nuclear program, officials say.

The bipartisan financial and trade restrictions amount to a "complete sanctions regime" against Tehran, according to one congressional aide involved in the process. But it could put the Obama administration in a difficult position with allies who are still trading with Iran, but whom the U.S. needs if it is to secure a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear standoff.

On Thursday, in its first foreign policy announcement since the president's re-election, the administration targeted four Iranian officials and five organizations with sanctions for jamming satellite broadcasts and blocking Internet access for Iranian citizens.

But the measures that Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., want to attach to a defense bill would be far more sweeping. They would target everything from Iranian assets overseas to all foreign goods that the country imports, building on the tough sanctions package against Tehran's oil industry that the two lawmakers pushed through earlier this year, congressional aides and people involved in the process said. Those earlier measures already have cut Iran's petroleum exports in half and hobbled its economy.

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