London, 26 Mar – On Thursday, senators in the United States announced a bipartisan bill that is set to impose sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran regarding its ballistic missile testing. It will also address Iran’s support for its Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) which may possibly be designated as a terrorist organisation.
This news came from top Democrats and Republicans who are part of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Iranian Supreme Leader’s warnings about sanctions putting the 2015 nuclear deal in danger are being ignored.
Last year, Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn. and Democrat Robert Menendez, D-N.J. tried to impose sanctions similar to these, but democrats rejected it for fear it would jeopardise and undermine the nuclear deal. Corker and Menendez both opposed the nuclear deal.
President Obama’s administration was very hesitant to impose any sanctions on Iran since the signing of the nuclear deal.
However, even before the deal was signed, there was bipartisan agreement that Iran’s ballistic missile testing and the terrorist activities of the IRGC needed to be dealt with. The IRGC is basically in control of all the terror promoting activities of the regime and it backs, supports, funds and trains militias like the already designated Lebanese Hezbollah.
Some provisions that Corker and Menendez proposed were rejected in the latest version of the legislation. One such example is the removal of a report dealing with the value of sanctions relief Iran benefited from as a result of the nuclear deal. Another example is scrapping the proposal to outlaw third-party USD transactions that would stop the administration from using its case-by-case waiver for national security to allow international agreements with Iran.
These changes were apparently essential in order for the bill to be signed.
Supporters and critics of the Iran nuclear deal are signing the legislation. Menendez and Cardin were critics of the nuclear deal, and Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., Chris Coons, D-Del., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. were in favour of it, but they all agree on the importance of this new legislation.
It remains to be seen if Iran will be happy with the omissions with regards to the nuclear deal, but it maintains that it is within its rights to carry out ballistic missile testing under deal.
Tom Cotton, R-Ark., believes that the bipartisan deal will allow President Trump to hold Iran accountable for its infractions of the nuclear deal. He said: “The president has said he’s putting Iran on notice, and passing this bill would be an unmistakable sign of resolve. We will not tolerate Iran’s pursuit of supremacy in the Middle East or its sponsorship of terrorism, and we will make the regime in Tehran pay a steep price for its dangerous behavior.”