WASHINGTON The U.S. Senate is set to consider a broader range of economic sanctions on Iran. The measures are aimed at pressuring Tehran to stop efforts to enrich uranium to levels that could be used in weapons.
If accepted, the proposal would become part of the annual defence policy bill, which must be approved by the Senate and House of Representatives before it can become law.
Here are some of the features of the proposal, developed by Senators Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, and Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois:
* Transactions for goods and services with Iran's energy, oil, port, shipping and ship-building sectors could be sanctioned.
* Exceptions: oil imports to countries that have obtained a formal "exception" for cutting oil purchases; natural gas purchases as long as importers hold payment for Iran in an account to be drawn on for permissible trade.
* Food, agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, humanitarian aid are exempt.
* Sanctions trade with Iran in precious metals, graphite, raw or semi-finished metals, like aluminium and steel, metallurgical coal and software for integrating industrial processes in Iran's energy and shipping sectors.
* Sanctions insurance or reinsurance providers for trade with Iran in energy, shipping and ship-building sectors, as well as with designated persons and entities.
* Sanctions foreign banks that handle transactions for Iranians who have been designated by the United States.
* Blacklists the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) and its president, blocking assets and preventing others from doing business with the IRIB.
* Requires the Obama administration to report every 90 days on whether Iran is using any of the sanctioned materials, such a precious metals, graphite or steel, in barters or swaps.
* Requires the administration to report within 180 days on vessels that have entered Iranian ports controlled by the Tidewater Middle East Company, and on airports where sanctioned Iranian aircraft have landed.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton, editing by Stacey Joyce)