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US Senate Works on New Iran Sanctions, Possible Russia Sanctions

  • VOA News

FILE - In this Dec. 29, 2016 file photo, released by the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), a long-range S-200 missile is fired in a military drill in the port city of Bushehr, on the northern coast of Persian Gulf, Iran.

The U.S. Senate has moved forward on a bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran.

The bill advanced on a procedural vote Wednesday. It now will be available for amendments before a final Senate vote.

The bill would impose mandatory sanctions on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program and those who do business with them. It also would apply terrorism sanctions to Iran's Revolutionary Guards and enforce an arms embargo.

Bernie Sanders was one of the few senators opposed to holding the vote Wednesday because of twin attacks on Iran's parliament and a major historical site earlier in the day.

"Let us tell the people of Iran that while we have serious disagreements with them on a number of issues, that today when they are mourning, when they are dealing with the shock of a terrorist attack, today is not the day to go forward with this piece of legislation," he said.

Other critics of the legislation, including former Secretary of State John Kerry, have said reimposing sanctions could lead to the dismantling of the Obama administration's long-sought nuclear accord with Iran. President Donald Trump has strongly criticized the Iran deal.

In addition to the sanctions on Iran, lawmakers are likely to add language that would impose sanctions on Russia over its alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, its involvement in the Syrian civil war, and its annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula.

For the legislation to become law, the House of Representatives also will have to approve it. It must then be signed by Trump.

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