By Jeremy Herb - 01/31/12 10:37 PM EST
The new sanctions proposals come one month after President Obama signed into law a sanctions amendment from Menendez and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) that would penalize foreign financial institutions that do business with Iran’s central bank, in an effort to cripple the country’s oil exports.
“It is clear that Iran has not deviated from its course nor abated its efforts to achieve nuclear weapons capability,” Menendez said in a statement. “We will continue adapting our efforts to counter the regime’s workarounds and take every possible step to impose real sanction on Iran’s energy sector, the IRGC and its related entities.”
In the face of the United States and European Union sanctions last month, Iran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil passageway in the Persian Gulf. Iran’s economy has sputtered and its currency has been devalued in recent weeks as the sanctions were announced.
The United States has said that Iran’s closing of the strait is a “red line,” and the U.S. military would stop Iran if it tried to do so.