The U.S. Senate has passed a legislation that would allow President Barack Obama to slap sanctions on those companies supplying gasoline to Iran, a move aimed at preventing Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2009, passed unanimously on , would impose new sanctions on Iran’s refined petroleum sector and tighten existing U.S. sanctions in an effort to create new pressure on the Iranian regime.

The House of Representatives has already passed a similar legislation.

Differences between the two bills would have to be worked out through a conference before it can be sent to the White House to be signed by President Obama into law.

“Passing this legislation sends Iran an important message that the United States is serious about keeping it from acquiring nuclear weapons,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement soon thereafter.

It was important to move the legislation forward quickly as the world had seen Iranian regime oppressing its people and defying the international community on nuclear issues, he added.

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