losangelesnewstoday.com
losangelesnewstoday.com October 18, 2017


Senate passes new sanctions on Iran, Russia

20 June 2017, 12:59 | Amanda Barker

The Republican-led Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday to approve sweeping sanctions legislation targeting Iran and Russian Federation.

The Russia amendment was part of a larger measure that targets Iran for sanctions over its ballistic missile program, human rights violations, and other issues. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah, both Republicans, were the only votes against it - bolsters existing sanctions and would allow Congress to thwart any presidential effort to curtail sanctions without congressional approval.

The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives.

House Republicans are expected to review the Senate-passed sanctions bill in the coming weeks, an aide told Politico.

Despite the overwhelming vote, the Russian Federation sanctions package was no sure thing.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the Trump administration was "committed to existing sanctions against Russia" but was "still reviewing the new Russian Federation sanctions amendment".

"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 Russian Federation 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", added Senator Corker. Asked if they felt handcuffed by the Senate actions, Sanders demurred, saying that because the process was still ongoing, there was no final product to weigh in on. The new sanctions are meant to punish Russian Federation for its role in the fighting in Syria and for interfering in the 2016 election.

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During the hearing Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson urged senators to oppose the measure so that Trump and his administration would have "the flexibility to turn the heat up" if necessary.

If signed into law, the document would prohibit the USA president from being able to lift sanctions without Congressional approval. Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said of the new legislation, according to Reuters.

"We've been interacting with the state department and, again, we'll see what happens", he told reporters.

Flynn had been misleading about his phone conversations late last December that reportedly included talks with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, just as then-president Barack Obama was ordering new sanctions on Russia over its alleged election meddling. It also places additional sanctions on specific industries, including the country's mining, shipping and railway industry. Senators say the legislation won't undermine the landmark nuclear deal with Iran. It complies with the Iran nuclear agreement reached in 2015, which put restrictions on the country's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

He also sparked controversy when he declined to explicitly endorse Article 5 of the alliance's founding document during his summit with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies in Brussels last month.



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