USA Today: Congress advances tough new sanctions on Iran

Congress has voted to impose tough new economic sanctions on Iran's energy industry, sending the measure to President Obama for his signature.

On a 99-to-0 vote, the Senate passed a measure that would penalize companies that import gas and other refined energy products to Iran. The bill also would ban U.S. banks from dealing with foreign banks that do business with the Revolutionary Guard or aid Iran's nuclear program, according to the Associated Press.

The House vote to approve the measure was 408-8.

Earlier this week, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the proposal is a "strong bill."

"The strength of today's vote in the Senate demonstrates the unity of our national resolve that Iran's conduct poses a grave threat to peace and security," Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said in a statement.

"First and foremost, we must stop Iran from continuing its illicit nuclear program," said the bill's chief negotiators, Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., according to the Associated Press. "Our legislation will provide the administration with powerful new tools to press Iran to change course."

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Source: Published June 24, 2010