In an effort to force Iran to freeze its nuclear programme, the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a resolution which empowers President Barack Obama to impose new sanctions on foreign companies supplying gasoline to the Islamic Republic.

A similar bill is pending before the Senate, which is likely to follow suit.

The House measure came even as the Obama Administration announced that it is investigating public reports on issues related to Iran’s nuclear programme.

“There has been a public report about an issue related to Iran’s nuclear programme. The United States Government will be investigating those reports,” Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley said.

The Iran Refined Petroleum Products Sanctions Act was passed by the House by a resounding margin of 412 to 12.

“The prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran is the most serious and urgent strategic challenge faced by the United States, and we must use all of the diplomatic means at our disposal — including tougher sanctions — to prevent that from becoming a reality,” said Howard Berman, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Berman is the co-author of the House legislation (H R 2194) which has 343 co-sponsors.

More In: International | News