The Senate voted for Menendez's amendment by 100 to 0. Obama officials said months later they were only seeking flexibility to minimize the risks in the new strategy.
"The debate at that time was over means, not ends," Cohen said in an interview just under a year later.
On the last day of 2011, Obama signed the legislation into law.
"Now what we are talking about is full-blown economic warfare," said Mark Dubowitz, head of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a conservative-leaning group that is among the most aggressive advocates of Iran sanctions.
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