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GOP Senator Confirms Intent to Offer Iran Sanctions Legislation

A leading Republican senator on Tuesday confirmed he intends to offer new Iran sanctions legislation as soon as next week if a related bill does not move through committee, The Hill newspaper reported in a blog post.

"If the Banking Committee doesn't move you can bet your life there will be an effort to impose new sanctions," Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) told journalists on Tuesday.

Graham and two other Republican senators -- Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) and Mark Kirk (Ill.) -- reportedly have been preparing their own sanctions proposal for possible inclusion in a defense authorization bill slated to reach the Senate floor as soon as next week.

Speaking to The Hill, Graham said "it would be better for the Banking Committee to lead on Iran sanctions than to do it on the floor."

The Senate Banking Committee has been expected to present a bill that would blacklist Iran's mining and construction sectors, but has not yet moved to publicly craft the legislation as Obama administration officials pled for them to allow diplomatic talks to play out with Iranian leaders.

The Republican-led House of Representatives already in July passed legislation that would broaden economic constraints against the Middle Eastern nation because of its nuclear-development work, which multiple countries fear is oriented toward weapon development.

After speaking last week with senior Obama officials, Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and several panel colleagues reportedly appeared open to deferring consideration of new sanctions as diplomatic efforts continue to unfold over Iran's disputed nuclear activities. A two-day multilateral meeting scheduled for Thursday would seek to clear up fears that Tehran is pursuing a nuclear-arms capability under the guise of a peaceful atomic program.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he would support Graham's sanctions proposal if it is included in the defense legislation.

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