World

Senate Unanimously Passes Iran Sanctions Bill

| by Oren Peleg

In a rare 99-0 vote, the U.S. Senate passed a 10-year extension of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA). The renewal, passed on Dec. 1, will head to President Barack Obama’s desk, who is expected to sign it.

"While we do not think that an extension of ISA is necessary, we do not believe that a clean extension would be a violation of the JCPOA (Iran deal)," a senior official with the Obama administration told Reuters.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which was adopted in 2015, “ensure[s] that Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful,” according to the State Department. “The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has verified that Iran has implemented its key nuclear-related measures described in the JCPOA, and the Secretary State has confirmed the IAEA’s verification. As a result of Iran verifiably meeting its nuclear commitments, the United States and the EU have lifted nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, as described in the JCPOA.”

"I have not heard strident objectives from our key allies in the JCPOA," Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, said of co-signatories, including the U.K. and E.U., about the ISA extension, reports Reuters.

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"Extending the Iran Sanctions Act ... ensures President-elect Trump and his administration have the tools necessary to push back against the regime’s hostile actions," Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, added.

According to the Tehran Times, the supreme leader of Iran, the Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, vowed to “react” if the sanctions were extended.

“…if these sanctions are extended, it will definitely be a violation of BARJAM (JCPOA) and they (the Americans) should know that the Islamic Republic will definitely react to that,” he said.

“The current U.S. government has so far violated the nuclear agreement on several occasions with the 10-year extension of sanctions being the most recent of which,” he added. “The nuclear deal or BARJAM should not turn into a tool to exert pressure on the Iranian nation and country.”

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Sources: Reuters, U.S. State Department, Tehran Times / Photo Credit: Kamyar Adl/Flickr

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