Iranians divided over new Senate sanctions

By Zakiyeh Yazdanshenas for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

The US Senate on June 15 overwhelmingly passed a bill to impose new sanctions against Iran. The Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act targets Iran’s ballistic missile program, its alleged support for terrorism and its human rights violations. It also includes new sanctions against Russia.

The House of Representatives has found that the Senate bill violates a constitutional requirement that any bill that raises revenue for the government must commence in the House, thus stalling its finalization.

While US officials claim that the Senate bill complies with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), there are disagreements between Iranian officials and scholars in the interpretation of the move and its impact on the nuclear deal. At the very least, a majority agree that the new sanctions hurt the spirit of the JCPOA.

Mentioning the Senate bill, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, the chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, declared on June 23 that if implemented, the new sanctions would defy both the letter and the spirit of the JCPOA. Bagheri further said that these sanctions once again show the United States’ persistence in its enmity toward Iran and that no one should think that the United States’ behavior can change.

Noting the complexity of the issue and the aggregation of the sanctions against Iran and Russia in one bill, Hamid Baeidinejad, Iran’s ambassador to the UK and former nuclear negotiator, wrote in a Telegram post on June 17, “The bill has been approved by the Senate, but has yet to pass two more hurdles before becoming law. … So it is important that the [Iranian] establishment’s authorities avoid acting impulsively in expressing an official position.”

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