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Congressional Panel Agrees on New Iran Sanctions

U.S. lawmakers agreed Monday to impose new sanctions on Iran. Aimed at pressuring the Islamic Republic to abandon its nuclear program, the legislation targets financial institutions that do business with that nation’s central bank.

The sanctions, approved by the House and Senate armed services committees, are part of the sweeping Defense Authorization Act, which would fund the Department of Defense, and the national security initiatives of the Department of Energy, for Fiscal Year 2012.

The Obama administration had resisted sanctions aimed directly at Iran’s central bank, where much of that country’s oil revenues are held. Addressing White House concerns that such sanctions would drive up oil prices, the Congressional negotiating committee made changes to an earlier draft of the legislation. The new sanctions would penalize foreign institutions that do business with Iran’s central bank. But the bill also provides exemptions for nations working alongside the U.S. on issues related to Iran.

Congressional leaders said they hoped to pass the measure next week.

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