US Senate takes Hard-Line on Iran Sanctions

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

Senate Republicans have run out of patience with Iran’s defiance of its international obligations, setting up a possible partisan showdown over new sanctions.

Hawkish lawmakers introduced two bills late last week that take aim at Iran’s ballistic missile program and alleged human rights violations. Both bills have been endorsed by the Senate leadership, which is evidently tired of waiting on a long-rumored bipartisan alternative that has so far failed to materialize.

“Today I have led an effort in the Senate to introduce legislation that would require the administration to impose tough, hard-hitting primary and secondary sanctions on every sector of the Iranian economy that supports Tehran’s ballistic missile programs,” the missile sanctions bill’s sponsor, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., said in a statement.

“Tough words alone will not deter the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism from continuing to develop its ballistic missile program, and I call on my colleagues in Congress, as well as the administration, to pass this legislation and impose without delay the strongest possible sanctions in order to hold Tehran accountable.”

The legislative push comes as the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee continue to try to thread the needle on efforts to hold Iran to account without imperiling last year’s nuclear deal. Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and ranking member Ben Cardin, D-Md., issued a joint statement soon after the two bills were introduced to reaffirm their determination to strike a bipartisan compromise that can attract enough support to pass the Senate and overcome a possible presidential veto.

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