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June 16, 2017 1:37 pm

US Jewish Leaders Welcome Bipartisan Resolve After Senate’s Passage of New Iran Sanctions

avatar by Ben Cohen

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Iranian President Hasan Rouhani greets General Qasem Solaimani, commander of the IRGC. Photo: Twitter.

Jewish leaders are warmly welcoming the overwhelming bipartisan consensus on Iran, following Thursday’s passage in the Senate of a new bill meant to counter Iranian and Russian aggression that imposes tough new sanctions upon the Tehran regime.

The 98-2 Senate vote in favor of the legislation — Republican Senator Rand Paul and Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, were the only two “no” votes — was “an important step toward curtailing Iran’s ability to fund the development of ballistic missiles, limiting its capacity to destabilize the region through support for terrorist groups and holding Iran responsible for gross human rights violations against its own people,” Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Chairman Stephen M. Greenberg and Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein said in a statement.

“We urge the House to demonstrate the same kind of bipartisan support to provide the administration with the tools needed to rein in Iran’s malign behavior,” they continued.

Democratic Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer of New York — a key backer of the legislation — said the sanctions “will specifically target problematic areas that were not part of the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement.”

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These areas include sanctions on persons involved with Iran’s ballistic missile program, terrorism sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and “officials, agents, or affiliates of the IRGC,” and tougher enforcement of the arms embargo on Iran.

“The Iranian regime continues to provide support to its proxies in the region, conduct ballistic missile tests, flagrantly abuse the human rights of its own people, and unjustly imprison foreigners,” Schumer said.

The legislation also targets Russia for its meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and its illegal annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine, a fact hailed by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in a statement lauding the bill.

“Russia’s hostile actions continue to pose a threat to international order,” said Jason Isaacson, the AJC’s associate executive director for policy. “Through strong bipartisan support, the Senate has shown that countering Russian aggression is not only in America’s national interest, but also a global necessity.”

The legislation enables new sanctions on Russian mining, metals, shipping and railway interests. It also targets Russian nationals guilty of supplying weapons to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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