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Senate Votes Up Anti-Russia Sanctions

20 June, 2017, 00:57 | Author: Eddie Kim
  • Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Iran’s supreme leader delivering a speech during a meeting in Tehran Sept. 9 2015

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has already indicated his mixed feelings for the measure, saying publicly that while he agreed "with the sentiment" that Russian Federation be held accountable for its election meddling, he also wanted Congress "to ensure any legislation allows the president to have the flexibility to adjust sanctions to meet the needs of what is always an evolving diplomatic situation".

The legislation, which now moves to the House, also gives Capitol Hill a much stronger hand in determining Russian Federation sanctions policy.

Final approval of the bill came a day after a 97-2 vote in favor of an amendment to the Iran Sanctions bill that puts into law existing American sanctions against Russia, dealing not only with USA protests over aggression in Crimea and Ukraine, but also in response to Russian cyber attacks linked to the 2016 elections. It's not like the sanctions are a surprise to President Putin, who has been following the anti-Trump hysteria in Washington fairly closely.

Senators say the bill won't impede enforcement of the nuclear agreement with Iran. In a series of tweets, Kerry urged lawmakers to "tread carefully" in pushing ahead with new Iran sanctions in the wake of President Hassan Rouhani's re-election to another four-year term.

The U.S. Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed new sanctions on Iran and Russian Federation and put a limit on the White House's ability to roll back any Russian Federation sanctions.

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It also applies terrorism-related sanctions to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and re-enforces aspects of the arms embargo on Iran. Individuals who carried out cyber attacks on behalf of the Russian government are also targeted.

European allies, Germany and Austria, expressed concern for the impact the Russia sanctions could have on Russian natural gas supplies with Europe.

Russia's interventions in Ukraine and Crimea and its support of Assad in the Syrian war are the other stated reasons for the sanctions, aside from the hacking that USA intelligence agencies say Russian Federation engaged in aggressively with the alleged aim of helping Trump beat Hillary Clinton last November.

The penalties have been criticized by Austria and Germany for promoting USA economic interests.

Christians United for Israel also lauded the measure, calling it a "good first step". The libertarian-minded Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was the only other "no" vote against the bill. They blocked United States companies such as Exxon Mobil, where Tillerson was chairman, from investing in such projects.

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