Senate passes sweeping sanctions bill targeting Iran, Russia

Malcolm Fuller
June 20, 2017

The new package of Russia sanctions, passed by a 97-2 vote in the Senate, was so far one of the strongest USA responses to alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

The Senate signalled it's ready to expand sanctions against Russian Federation amid a probe into its meddling in the United States presidential election, and to let Congress review any move by President Donald Trump to lift existing penalties.

The Senate voted Wednesday, 97-2, to pass a measure that would toughen sanctions on Russian Federation and would prevent the White House from unilaterally removing the sanctions imposed by his predecessor, former President Barack Obama in 2014 and 2016.

It also would require President Donald Trump to seek congressional permission to relax the current regime of sanctions against Russian Federation, possibly limiting his leeway to improve relations between Washington and Moscow.

It also aims to punish Russia's Vladimir Putin for interfering in last year's U.S. election, and to make it tougher for the White House to roll back sanctions. The legislation would expand sanctions for Iranian ballistic missile development, support for terrorism, transfers of conventional weapons to or from Iran, and human rights violations.

Republican Sens. Mike Lee and Rand Paul were the only GOP members to oppose the bill, which was co-sponsored by Republicans Bob Corker, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

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She said tourism is the backbone of the Hills' economy and if the tourists' footfalls decrease, the Hills would starve. GTA has failed and we do not accept GTA anymore", Roshan Giri, general secretary of the GJM, told The Sunday Guardian.

Existing US sanctions imposed by the Obama administration have hurt Russia's economy, but haven't moved the Kremlin on policy, according to Saradzhyan.

The addition of Russian sanctions to the bill was a rebuke to the president because it would prohibit the president from being able to lift them without Congressional approval.

Though there's little dispute over Russia's interference in the election, questions remain over the objective and extent of the meddling. Before passing the combined Russia-Iran measure, the chamber also attached a bipartisan amendment signaling support for NATO's Article 5 - which Trump earlier this month notably declined to endorse in Brussels - by a unanimous vote.

A day earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made a plea for patience from lawmakers in relation to Russian Federation, saying the administration feared being "handcuffed" by the new measure.

US President Donald Trump and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) arrive for a workforce development roundtable discussion at Waukesha County Technical College during a visit in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 13, 2017.

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