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June 16, 2017 9:59 am

US Senate Passes Sanctions Bill Targeting Iran, Russia

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The US Capitol building. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – The US Senate overwhelmingly passed new sanctions targeting Iran on Thursday as part of a larger sanctions package that also punishes Russia for its recent behavior.

The Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act, which passed with 98-2 votes, targets Iran’s ballistic missile programs and applies sanctions against the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for it terrorist activities. The Iran sanctions were passed along with new ones targeting Russia over its intrusion into the 2016 presidential elections, annexation of Crimea and its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“With passage of this legislation, the Senate reasserts congressional authority — while providing the Trump administration appropriate national security flexibility — and sends a clear signal to both Iran and Russia that our country will stand firm in the face of destabilizing behavior and that Congress will play a leading role in protecting our national interests,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

While the Senate resolution must still pass the House of Representatives and be signed by President Donald Trump, it doesn’t target Iran’s nuclear program, though Iranian officials criticized the congressional move, claiming it violates the nuclear agreement.

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“The US Senate’s move is unquestionably in breach of both the spirit and the letter of the nuclear deal,” said Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Reuters reported.

“The Iranian committee tasked with monitoring the accord will certainly examine the congressional move and come up with a decent response.”

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