Senate panel backs bill to authorize new sanctions on Iran
- Author: Leroy Wright May 26, 2017,
May 26, 2017, 4:58
The measure would impose mandatory sanctions on anyone involved with Iran's ballistic missile programme, and those who do business with them.
Though the Trump administration has so far upheld US obligations under the nuclear deal and certified Iranian compliance, the president has indicated a willingness to change course.
The deal was tailored narrowly to focus on Iran's nuclear program-in a bid to ensure Iranian nuclear activities would only be used for peaceful purposes.
By an 18-3 vote, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee paved the way for full Senate consideration, despite objections from former Secretary of State John Kerry and others who served in Democratic President Barack Obama's administration that it might threaten the 2015 worldwide nuclear deal with Iran.
The Countering Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017, which was introduced by Committee Chairman Sen.
Lawmakers who backed the bill said they do not believe that its passage, which would require support by the House of Representatives and President Donald Trump to become law, would violate terms of the global nuclear agreement with Iran reached in 2015.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy said it gives many committee members "great pause" that the Trump administration has not acted against Russian Federation for its efforts to influence the election. We are still sanctioning them. That deal did not include missile sanctions. The language now sanctions those who have already "materially contributed" to the program.
Corker said he expects Tillerson to report to the committee within weeks about the Trump administration's policy toward Russian Federation and the situation in Syria. "AIPAC urges the full Senate to adopt this critical, bipartisan legislation".
Lawmakers also reworded a section that would have created new conditions for lifting some ballistic missile sanctions that are set to expire in seven years as part of the nuclear deal.
He added, "Iran's rogue behavior has only escalated since implementation of the agreement, and this bipartisan bill approved by the committee today will give the Trump administration additional tools for holding Tehran accountable".
"While the elections were highly constrained, their outcome was significant", the liberal pro-Israel group said.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that an ongoing interagency review of the deal is now weighing whether key terms of the JCPOA are "vital to the national security interests of the United States". "In this context, Senators should weigh the merits of passing largely symbolic legislation to achieve objectives that might be better met through future negotiations". Some members of the committee, particularly Democrats, had wanted to act more quickly on sanctions over Russian activities that USA intelligence agencies concluded were meant to help get Republican Donald Trump elected. Instead, his administration has said it would closely police Iran's compliance with the bill and review it, with an eye toward possibly modifying it to make it stronger.
Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, told Congress this week that he was reviewing contracts arising out of the deal that allowed US aircraft manufacturers to sell their products to Iran. We still have sanctions. "I can assure you that's a big focus of mine and I discuss it with the president".