WASHINGTON - Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, threatened Wednesday to retaliate against the United States if it renewed economic sanctions against his country for another 10 years.
Khamenei did not specify what he would do, but he said in a televised speech that the U.S. "should be aware that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not stand by idly."
The warning came days after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to renew the Iran Sanctions Act for 10 years. The act is set to expire at the end of this year.
The House bill must be approved by the Senate and signed by President Barack Obama if it is to become law.
The sanctions ban businesses from investing in Iran, specifically its oil industry. The act also targeted Libya when it was first passed in 1996, but that portion has since been dropped.
The U.S. says the sanctions in the act are separate from those it agreed to drop as part of the nuclear deal signed with Iran and five other countries. Iran agreed to drastically curb its nuclear activities in exchange for that action.
But Iran said any sanctions would violate the spirit of the deal.