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Congress moves to crank up the pressure on Iran

Now that the House has passed Barney Frank‘s Iran divestment bill, the attention turns to the Senate, where Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback is working to advance his companion measure. Both pieces of legislation have basically the same idea, to allow both public and private entities to more easily rid themselves of investments in the Iranian ...

Now that the House has passed Barney Frank's Iran divestment bill, the attention turns to the Senate, where Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback is working to advance his companion measure.

Both pieces of legislation have basically the same idea, to allow both public and private entities to more easily rid themselves of investments in the Iranian economy. The measure is being sold as a way to tweak Iran without actually imposing new sanctions.

After the House passed its version by a 414-6 vote, Brownback said he would try to add his bill as an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill, which is on the Senate floor this week.

Now that the House has passed Barney Frank‘s Iran divestment bill, the attention turns to the Senate, where Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback is working to advance his companion measure.

Both pieces of legislation have basically the same idea, to allow both public and private entities to more easily rid themselves of investments in the Iranian economy. The measure is being sold as a way to tweak Iran without actually imposing new sanctions.

After the House passed its version by a 414-6 vote, Brownback said he would try to add his bill as an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill, which is on the Senate floor this week.

"I think we’ve got a pretty good shot at getting it moved. I haven’t heard of any opposition to it," Brownback told The Cable.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, D-CT, has another Iran sanctions bill that would crack down on refined petroleum exports to Iran and seek to freeze Iranian financial assets.

"You’re going to see the banking committee come up with a bundle of steps and there’s going to be broad bipartisan support for that as well," Brownback said.

The administration wants Dodd to wait until its ongoing engagement push with Iran plays out. But Dodd is set on moving forward in his committee this month.

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin

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