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US Approves New Iran Sanctions

America approves tougher sanctions on Iran. Peace Now opposes the move, citing Israel's change in policy on Gaza.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 6/25/2010, 11:49 AM / Last Update: 6/25/2010, 12:50 PM

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The United States Senate has voted 99-0 to approve new, tougher sanctions on Iran. The vote in the House of Representatives was 408-8. Like previous sanctions, the latest move aims to discourage Iran's nuclear program.

The sanctions will penalize companies that sell gasoline to Iran or that do business with the Revolutionary Guard Corp.

US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman said he expects the sanctions to receive final approval within two weeks. The sanctions are the most comprehensive to have been approved to date, he said.

The pro-Israel lobby American Israel Public Affairs committee (AIPAC) praised the sanctions, saying they “provide the best hope that political and economic measures can peaceably persuade Iran to end its illicit nuclear program before it is too late.”

Americans for Peace Now expressed opposition to the sanctions, and cited Israel's changed policy regarding shipments to Gaza. Imposing sanctions “is an approach that only last week Israel abandoned in Gaza, recognizing that squeezing the population of Gaza with a blockade on civilian goods had not only failed to force Hamas out of power, but had enabled Hamas (and the world) to blame Israel for all the misery the people of Gaza were facing,” said APN President Debra Delee.

"It is regrettable that Congress did not draw the obvious lesson from these experiences,” she added.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently announced that Israel would allow a greater variety of goods to enter Gaza via crossings in the Negev. Previously, only items on a list of approved goods were allowed into Gaza from Israel, now, all goods are allowed in with the exception of weapons and materials used to manufacture weapons.

Despite his change of policy regarding Gaza, which followed a clash between IDF commandos and Gaza-bound activists and subsequent international condemnation, Netanyahu has expressed strong support of international sanctions on Iran.