Senate Votes Unanimously to Renew Iran Sanctions Law

By Lardner, Richard | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), December 2, 2016 | Go to article overview

Senate Votes Unanimously to Renew Iran Sanctions Law


Lardner, Richard, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


WASHINGTON * The Senate moved decisively Thursday to renew a decades-old sanctions law that lawmakers said gives the United States the clout to punish Iran should it fail to live up to the terms of the landmark nuclear deal.

Senators passed the bill unanimously, 99-0, two weeks after the House also approved the legislation by an overwhelming margin of 419- 1.

The bill to grant a 10-year extension of the Iran Sanctions Act will be sent to President Barack Obama, who planned to sign it.

The White House deemed the bill unnecessary but said it didn't violate the international accord meant to slow Iran's ability to make nuclear arms. Seeking to address Iran's concerns, White House officials emphasized that the administration can and will waive all the nuclear-related sanctions included in the renewal.

The officials weren't authorized to comment by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Lawmakers view the sanctions law, which is set to expire at the end of the year, as an important tool for holding Iran accountable for any violations of the nuclear agreement and also as a bulwark against Tehran's aggression in the Middle East. The law, first passed by Congress in 1996 and renewed several times since then, allows the U.S. to slap companies with economic sanctions for doing business with Iran.

In exchange for Tehran rolling back its nuclear program, the U.S. and other world powers agreed to suspend wide-ranging oil, trade and financial sanctions that had choked the Iranian economy. The White House has been concerned that renewing the sanctions could give Iran an excuse to scuttle the deal by saying the U. …

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