Governments Reinforce Iranian Sanctions

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JERUSALEM, Israel - While Iranian bravado over the fourth round of U.N. sanctions against its nuclear program continues unabated, the United States, Canada and several European countries are voting to increase sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

The U.S. Congress is set to approve "the most comprehensive sanctions" to date against Iran's nuclear program, Howard Berman, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee told The Jerusalem Post.

Berman said the congressional bill had been developed in tandem with the White House because of the administration's concerns, but he was sure President Obama would sign the legislation.

"It is by far, by far, the most comprehensive sanctions related to Iran that we have ever entertained and - I think we can say - have passed," Berman said during a conference call with the press.

On Tuesday, the Canadian government announced it has passed legislation limiting Iranian access to uranium and further restricting its nuclear and missile programs.

"We applaud the government for taking the important action of further sanctions against the Iranian regime for its nuclear weapons program in defiance of the international community," B'nai Brit Canada Executive Vice President Frank Dimant said in a press release.

"Canada and her allies need to do everything in their power to stop the Iranian regime, the world's top sponsor of terrorism, from developing nuclear arms," Dimant said.

"Iranian political and military leaders deny the Holocaust and openly call for the destruction of the Jewish state. Since last year's sham of an election in Tehran, the regime has brutally murdered and suppressed droves of freedom-seeking Iranians just for aspiring to live in a free society," he said.

"The world simply cannot sit idly by as the terrorist regime in Tehran arms itself with the most dangerous of weapons," Dimant said.

On the other side of the world, the United Arab Emirates announced plans to shut down 40 companies supplying Iran with banned dual-use items that can be used for civilian or military purposes.

According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, many of the 400,000 Iranians who live in the UAE serve as fronts for the regime. The bulk of the $10 billion annual trade between the two countries is in imports to Iran.

The European Union also decided this week to increase its sanctions against Iran beyond those passed by the Security Council. 

Meanwhile, Iran continues its uranium enrichment program unfazed.

On Wednesday, Ali Salehi, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, announced it had enriched 17 kg. of uranium to 20 percent purity and were able to enrich 5 kg. to this level every month.

According to nuclear engineers, the process for enriching uranium to 20 percent is more difficult than taking it from 20 to 90 percent enrichment, which is the level needed to produce a nuclear bomb.

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