Published: Пн, Июня 19, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

Senate passes Iran and Russian Federation sanctions despite Obama's nuke deal


The bipartisan legislation passed overwhelmingly Thursday, 98-2, more than five months after USA intelligence agencies determined Moscow had deliberately interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign.

If approved, the legislation will then be approved by the House of Representatives and, finally, be signed into law by President Donald Trump.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that the Trump administration is "committed to existing sanctions against Russia" but is "still reviewing the new Russian Federation sanctions amendment".

Democrats insisted that the Congress should also respond to Russia's aggressions, including its annexation of Ukraine, attacks in Syria and interference in the USA election.

The addition came with the White House deeply embroiled in crisis over whether Trump's campaign team colluded with a Russian effort to sway the 2016 election.

Trump has repeatedly and openly doubted the intelligence community's finding that Russian Federation meddled in the presidential election.

Sen. Lee has not made a statement on his opposition but is known as one of the few Republicans along with Paul willing to buck the majority and even his own party on foreign policy issues.

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The sanctions were meant to be a punishment for Russia's meddling in Ukraine as well as pushback to the Moscow government's attempts to interfere in the USA election previous year, lawmakers said.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he wants flexibility as he tries to improve ties with Russian Federation. "I can't imagine the House would want to be apologists for Russian behavior after the combined weight of the intelligence communities all weighing in saying, "Look, they attacked the United States".

Senate Foreign Relations chairman Bob Corker had pumped the breaks on the Russian Federation sanctions bill weeks ago, per the request of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

"Essentially, we would ask for the flexibility to turn the heat up when we need to, but also to ensure we have the ability to maintain a constructive dialogue", Tillerson said.

The new Iran restrictions, which impose mandatory sanctions on people involved with the Islamic republic's ballistic missile program and those that transact with them.

Known as the Crapo Amendment, after Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, the measure was endorsed by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) and ranking member Ben Cardin (D-Maryland). "This amendment makes clear that we will not continue to tolerate such actions".

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