U.S. Senate committee approves Iran sanctions bill

Republican and Democratic members of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee approved the bill aimed at ramping up economic pressure on the Iranian regime if a final deal is not reached on preventing the regime from acquiring nuclear weapons.

The panel voted 18-4 to pass the bill that would increase economic pressure on the Iranian regime starting in July if it fails to sign an agreement.

Lawmakers are holding off on a full Senate vote to see whether diplomatic negotiations with the Iranian regime yield a deal.

On Tuesday, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who co-authored the bill with Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and nine other Democrats told president Obama in a letter that they wouldn’t push the bill at least until the end of March.

Talks with the regime in Tehran have been extended until July, with the goal of reaching a framework for a deal by the end of March.

Iran’s state-run IRNA news service said Wednesday that Iranian lawmakers have proposed a bill that would scuttle the diplomatic effort if the U.S. imposed new U.S. sanctions.