The US House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed another round of sanctions against Iran, despite Obama administration concerns that they could undermine the new Iranian president in upcoming nuclear negotiations.
The House voted 400 to 20 in favour of the sanctions. The measure aims to remove a further 1m barrels a day of Iranian oil from the market by threatening financial sanctions against countries that do not reduce shipments of oil from the country. It also blacklists several other industries in Iran.
The bill, which still needs to be approved by the Senate and signed by the president, comes ahead of this weekend's presidential inauguration of Hassan Rohani, the most moderate of the candidates in Iran's June elections.
In addition to trying to take more Iranian oil off the market, the bill would curtail Iran's ability to access its foreign exchange reserves held abroad and adds the auto and mining sectors to the existing blacklist.
Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies and a supporter of the new sanctions, said "the administration needs enhanced leverage in the next round of negotiations".
Mr Dubowitz pointed to scepticism in Congress about the moderate credentials of the new president, who was considered a "regime loyalist" by some lawmakers.