* Vote in both Senate and House could happen by end of week
* Address loopholes, tighten noose on energy sector
* Iran's NIOC, NITC targeted
(Adds quote from congressional source, details)
By Roberta Rampton
WASHINGTON, July 30 U.S. lawmakers moved a step
closer to finalizing new sanctions aimed at further restricting
Iran's oil revenues after negotiators from the Senate and House
of Representatives agreed on a compromise bill on Monday.
The bill includes several new provisions seeking to crack
down on those who ship or insure Iranian oil cargoes, or who pay
for oil using gold. It also seeks to curtail efforts to evade
sanctions by reflagging ships or turning off tracking systems.
It aims as well to stop Iran from repatriating revenues from
oil sales, which would further squeeze government funds.
If passed, the sanctions would add further pressure on top
of penalties imposed by the United States and European Union
earlier this year on countries that fail to slash purchases of
Iranian oil - sanctions the West hopes will prevent Tehran from
building nuclear weapons.
"The expanded energy sanctions contained in this critical
legislation effectively blacklist the Iranian energy sector and
anyone doing business with it," Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the
Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said
in a statement.
Iran has maintained its nuclear program is for civilian
purposes. Its economy has been damaged by existing sanctions and
its oil production has slipped to the lowest level since 1988.
"Unless (Iranian leaders) come clean on their nuclear
program, end the suppression of their people, and stop
supporting terrorist activities, they will face deepening
international isolation and even greater economic and diplomatic
pressure," Tim Johnson, Democratic chairman of the Senate
Banking Committee, said in a statement.
TIMING OF VOTE STILL UNCLEAR
Senate and House leaders have said they would like to pass
the sanctions by the end of the week, when lawmakers are set to
leave for an extended recess.
The draft text of the compromise bill was released by the
House late on Monday and a Republican aide confirmed members
would vote on the floor this week, although the date had not
It was not immediately clear whether a vote would be held in
the U.S. Senate, where an earlier version of the bill was held
up in May by Republicans who sought tougher measures.
One senior congressional source characterized the bill as
"incremental" and said the new measures would not be enough to
force Tehran to abandon its nuclear program, or prevent Israel
from taking military action.
President Barack Obama would need to sign the bill for the
measures to take effect. The White House did not publicly
comment on the legislation as it was being developed, and has
not yet commented on the compromise bill.
The compromise scaled back proposals to sanction satellite
service providers to Iran's government, replacing that with
non-binding measures urging companies to stop providing the
services until Tehran stops jamming certain satellite signals.
Some groups pushing for stricter measures against Iran have
said they are worried the compromise weakens sanctions on
companies that help Iranian banks transfer money.
The compromise bill includes more provisions aimed at
shippers that transport Iran's oil around the globe, as well as
on the National Iranian Oil Company, or NIOC, and National
Iranian Tanker Company, or NITC.
(Editing by Peter Cooney)