Iran maintains that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

Mark Dubowitz, a sanctions expert and executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said there is strong bipartisan support for intense sanctions, with the goal of pushing the Iranian economy to the brink of economic collapse.

Only then "can the central thesis of the administration's sanctions policy be fairly tested: That crippling economic pressure will break the nuclear will of Iran's supreme leader and his Revolutionary Guards and lead them to meet their obligations under international law," Dubowitz said.

The president has 90 days from the legislation's enactment to act. The bill does include the authority to waive the sanctions based on national security.

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