US senators work on tightening sanctions on Iran

Orient Net - Reuters 2017-03-24 09:27:00

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Iran would face tighter US sanctions over ballistic missile launches and other non-nuclear activities under a bill announced on Thursday by a bipartisan group of senators, echoing a harder line on Tehran espoused by Republican President Donald Trump.

The bill has seven Republican and seven Democratic sponsors, and aides said it has a good chance of eventually becoming law.

It would set mandatory sanctions for anyone involved with Iran’s ballistic missile program. And it would apply sanctions to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), putting into law sanctions imposed via executive order on individuals tied to what the bill’s sponsors describe as Iranian support for terrorism.

 The IRGC, an elite military body, is powerful in Iranian politics and the economy.

The legislation would also require the US president to block the property of any person or entity involved in specific activities that violate the U.N. arms embargo on Iran.

Iran has suggested about past proposed sanctions bills that they would violate the international nuclear agreement reached during the administration of former President Barack Obama.

Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, a co-author of the measure, told Reuters the new bill had been written not to interfere with that accord.

"We assiduously worked to make sure that no provisions actually affect the agreement as it is," he said in an interview.

Aides said the bill is expected to pass the Senate because of the breadth of its support. Its lead sponsors include Republican Senator Bob Corker, the foreign relations committee chairman, and Ben Cardin, the panel’s ranking Democrat.