Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement after the Senate approved a new regime of strong economic sanctions against the Iranian regime.
"At a time when Iran continues to defy the international community with its nuclear weapons program, it is critical we continue to tighten our sanctions regime. This legislation expands our existing sanctions on Iran's energy sector, and imposes new sanctions targeting shipping and insurance. Iran continues to try to evade existing sanctions. But this legislation, in combination with newly announced measures by the Obama administration, closes loopholes and stops the use of front companies, or financial institutions to get around international sanctions.
"Our current sanctions, and a recent European Union ban on purchasing Iranian oil, have already had an impact. In spite of the rhetoric coming out of Iran, the regime is clearly feeling the heat. Oil exports are down by 50 percent, and the Iranian currency has lost nearly 40 percent of its value. Iranian tankers full of oil are crowding the waters around Iran, acting as floating storage facilities for oil the rogue nation cannot sell.
"Over the past year, I have come to the floor many times urging passage of this measure. I am pleased we have finally completed this important work. There is no time to waste, as the Iranian regime continues to threaten our ally Israel and the national security of the United States.
"I want to thank Senators Johnson, Shelby and Menendez for their leadership and all of their hard work getting this bill completed in a bipartisan fashion."