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US pushes toward more biting Iran sanctions

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"This will punish ordinary people in Iran, spike gas prices worldwide, and cost jobs in the US," said Mr. Abdi, whose group has argued for US engagement with Iran. "We've been down this road before. Sanctions on Iraq's central bank failed to change Saddam Hussein's regime, contributed to humanitarian suffering, and ultimately ended with a war."

Israel test-launches powerful missiles for first time in three years

The call for more sanctions erupted anew in Washington after the Obama administration last month revealed details of what it alleged to be an Iranian plot, approved at high levels in Iran, to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington and target the Saudi and Israeli embassies.

In subsequent hearings, some US lawmakers have called for strikes against Iran, to damage Iran's nuclear program and to "kill" those who they charged had been "killing" Americans for three decades.

The sanctions move comes amid a perfect storm of events that are raising pressure on Iran, particularly from Israel, whose Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has this week tried to persuade his cabinet to support an attack on Iran, and wants US military action as well.

The Islamic Republic's arch-foe Israel test-fired a nuclear-capable long-range Jericho 3 ballistic missile yesterday morning, the first such test since 2008. 

The intercontinental ballistic missile has a range and capability that far outstrips any other missiles in the region, including those in Iran's arsenal. With a range of more than 7,000 miles – and longer, with a smaller warhead – the Jericho 3 can fly roughly three times farther than any target in Iran, and the test was heralded by Defense Minister Ehud Barak as an "impressive technological achievement" of Israel's "defense industries."

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