Senate passes bill to impose new sanctions on Iran

Tuesday, 20 Jun, 2017

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved new financial sanctions against Russian Federation on Wednesday for its interference in the 2016 presidential election and actions taken in Syria and Europe, according to media reports.

"With overwhelming Senate passage of the Russian Federation sanctions amendment, the USA sends a strong signal to President Putin while ensuring the Trump administration has the flexibility it needs", said Senator Corker.

The Senate's Iranian sanctions legislation imposes new restrictions on Tehran's ballistic missile program, also aiming to punish Iran for supporting terrorism and human rights violations. It is said that the administration's objection to the Senate bill was principally grounded in the fact it prevents the President negotiating any downgrade in sanctions without the approval of Congress. President Trump, who often emphasizes his negotiating skills, was no doubt disappointed about having this issue taken out of his hands.

If passed in the House of Representatives and signed into law by Trump, it would put into law sanctions previously established via former President Barack Obama's executive orders, including some on Russian energy projects.

The bill includes new sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program and other activities not related to the worldwide nuclear agreement reached with the United States and other world powers.

The only senators who voted against the measure were Republicans Rand Paul and Mike Lee.

It's not clear what exact changes the White House wants to make to the bill, or that those changes would actually weaken the proposed penalties against Russian Federation, but Senate Democrats have been attempting to sound an alarm over just that possibility.

President Donald Trump campaigned on easing tensions with Russian Federation, arguing that it would be in America's best interest to try warming relations with Vladimir Putin. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, joined the effort to push the legislation forward.

"My expectation is that the White House will have positive things to say about what we've done", Cardin said. The Trump administration has pushed back against the bill, and his fellow Republicans hold a commanding 238- to 193-seat majority in the chamber. Broad new sanctions would be imposed on Russia's mining, metals, shipping and railways sectors.

White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders echoed Tillerson's sentiment on Thursday, telling reporters that, "We believe the existing executive branch sanctions regime is the best tool for compelling Russian Federation to fulfill its commitments". "But look, this bill is going to become law", Corker told reporters on Wednesday.