New Iran Penalties Sail Through U.S. House Vote

Legislation to further stanch Iran's petroleum sales won overwhelming approval on Wednesday from U.S. House lawmakers concerned about the Middle Eastern nation's bomb-relevant nuclear activities, Reuters reported.

The bill -- passed in a 400-20 vote -- would target international purchasers of Iranian oil in an effort to cut off nearly all remaining exports of the substance. The measure would restrict Tehran's ability to use financial assets in other countries, and it would punish nations for supporting separate elements of Iranian industry.

Endorsement of the legislation came days before the anticipated inauguration of Iranian President-elect Hassan Rouhani, who has been touted as a reformist possibly willing to break new ground in long-stymied talks on his nation's atomic activities. Tehran has denied international suspicions that its nuclear efforts have military aims.

"New president or not, I am convinced that Iran's supreme leader intends to continue on this path," House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei holds final say on all Iranian policies.

Tehran took a differing view on Thursday.

“Imposing sanctions against Iran is a failed policy and will definitely not help find a logical solution to the existing problems, especially with regard to negotiations on the nuclear issue,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi said in remarks reported by Iran's Press TV.