U.S. House Set to Vote on Tough Iran Sanctions Bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -

Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives are due to vote on a tough Iran sanctions bill this week that seeks to squeeze the Islamic Republic’s oil exports to a trickle.

The Republican-led House is due to vote on Wednesday on the bill that seeks to cut Iran’s oil exports by another 1 million barrels per day within one year.

The bill, expected to pass easily in the House, would not become law immediately as no companion legislation has yet passed in the Senate. The Senate Banking Committee could consider its version of a bill in September and then the legislation would move to the full chamber for a vote.

If the House acts this week it would highlight a divide between lawmakers in Congress and some in President Barack Obama’s administration.

Many lawmakers are anxious to appear tough in trying to slow Iran’s disputed nuclear program, but Obama’s administration acted last week to partially ease sanctions on Iran, which last month elected for president a relative moderate, the cleric Hassan Rouhani.

The U.S. Treasury Department last Thursday expanded the list of medical devices that can be exported to Iran without special permission, as the administration sought to show support for humanitarian needs in the country, which has been hit hard by Western sanctions.