WASHINGTON, Sept 10 (Reuters) - The chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs said on Thursday the panel is likely to vote next month on legislation that would impose sanctions on Iran’s gasoline imports.
If approved by the House and Senate and signed into law by President Barack Obama, such sanctions would seek to pressure Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program, which Washington suspects is a cover for developing nuclear weapons.
Iran denies this, saying its nuclear program is solely to produce energy.
“Absent some compelling evidence as to why I should do otherwise, I will mark up my bill next month and begin the process of tightening the screws on Tehran,” Rep. Howard Berman said in the text of a speech released by his office.
To “mark up” a bill means for the committee to finish writing the legislation and to vote on whether to send it to the full House for consideration.
Berman, a California Democrat, introduced legislation in April that would allow the president to impose sanctions on companies that help Iran to import refined petroleum products or that help it to increase its domestic refinery capacity.
Iran holds some of the world’s biggest oil reserves but it imports 40 percent of its gasoline to meet the demand from its growing population.
Editing by Sandra Maler