Senate votes to extend Iran sanctions, Obama will sign

Despite some protests from the White House and over the objections of Iran, the U.S. Senate passed an extension of the Iran Sanctions (ISA) on Thursday.

The bill to prolong the embargo against Tehran will extend the current ISA for a period of 10 years, which was originally scheduled to expire on Dec. 31.

The Senate vote came two days following Senate Democrats’ closed-door meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry arguing against continuing the sanctions.

Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, cited Iran’s continued human rights abuses, ballistic missile program and state-sponsored terrorism activities as the rationale for supporting the furthering of the ISA.

The measure passed in Congress’ upper chamber 99–0, with Vermont’s Bernie Sanders abstaining from the vote. The bill’s passage in the Senate follows approval in the House on Nov. 15.  The House vote was 419–1.

President Obama has indicated he will sign the bill.

Declaring the bill’s passage a “clear violation” of the landmark Iran deal signed by the P5+1 powers in 2015, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Ghasemi was quoted by Voice of America as saying:

“Iran has proven that it sticks to its international agreements, but it also has appropriate responses for all situations.”

President-elect Donald Trump has eviscerated Mr. Obama for the Iran deal and has vowed to renegotiate the pact.

Commenting on the bill’s passage in the Senate, Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said the measure was intended to give incoming president Donald Trump tools he needs to “push back against Iran’s hostile actions.”

 

[Reuters] [The Hill] [Photo courtesy Vahid Reza Alaei/AFP/Getty Images via journal-neo.org]