Separately, Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) are hoping to include in a pending defense policy bill crippling new sanctions that would target a broad range of Iranian imports, The Associated Press reported Friday. The administration is believed to be wary of antagonizing countries that export to Iran after winning unprecedented international support for sanctions at the U.N., while also viewing the Senate bill as a strong bargaining chip to force Iran to abandon its alleged nuclear weapons program during multilateral negotiations that could restart later this year after being on hiatus since the summer.
Obama renews 33-year-old state of emergency with Iran as Senate mulls crippling sanctions
The announcement comes as the administration has doubled down on its tough stance against Iran following President Obama's reelection. On Thursday, the Treasury Department announced sanctions against several Iranian officials and organizations for jamming satellite broadcasts and blocking access to the Internet.