US Senate unanimously passes Iran sanctions bill

WASHINGTON : The Senate on Thursday unanimously voted to approve a 10-year extension of a bill that allows the U.S. to impose sanctions on Iran.

The 99-0 vote will extend the Iran Sanctions Act, originally passed in 1996, for another decade through 2026 if President Barack Obama signs it into law.

The House of Representatives previously passed the bill.

The act was originally slated to expire at year's end.

The White House was noncommittal on whether Obama would lend his signature to the legislation.

"We'll take a look at the bill once it's been passed," spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters before the final vote.

The White House had previously said Obama would sign off on the bill only if it did not interfere with the ongoing Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which provides Iran with sanctions relief in return for international monitoring of its nuclear program.

It does not appear to do so, but Earnest has indicated it is unnecessary and that the president has sufficient authorities to sanction Iran without the legislation.

Lawmakers have said the extension is intended to give Washington the ability to punish Iran should it fall short of its obligations under the nuclear deal or if Tehran should run afoul of U.S. policy.

Republican lawmaker Bob Corker, who chairs the influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement that the extension gives us the ability to reimpose the sanctions the Obama administration lifted to implement the Iran nuclear deal and ensures President-elect [Donald] Trump and his administration have the tools necessary to push back against the regime's hostile actions.

I am pleased by the overwhelming support this bill received in both the House and Senate and look forward to continuing our work to hold Tehran accountable, he added.

Corker is reportedly being considered for the next Secretary of State.

Source: Anadolu Agency