Majlis Approves Urgency of Bill on Possible US Sanctions

Majlis Approves Urgency of Bill on Possible US Sanctions
Majlis Approves Urgency of Bill on Possible US Sanctions

Parliamentarians approved the urgency of bringing to the floor a bill that would require the government to step up its nuclear activities if new nuclear-related sanctions were imposed.

Of the lawmakers who were present at the Majlis open session on Tuesday, 173 MPs voted to give the bill a "single-urgency" status, 9 voted against the motion and 5 abstained.  

The chairman of the Majlis Nuclear Committee said on Monday, "According to the bill, if the United States increases sanctions, the Geneva agreement will be annulled and the Islamic Republic will resume all its nuclear activities, and if the United States imposes more sanctions again, the Islamic Republic will take further action."

Lawmaker Ebrahim Karkhanei also said the bill would set the simultaneous termination of all sanctions as Iran's condition for the implementation of any nuclear deal.

Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) reached a preliminary nuclear deal in Geneva in November 2013, under which Iran agreed to temporarily scale down parts of its nuclear program in exchange for a limited easing of sanctions. Iran and the six major powers are now in talks to work out a long-term settlement to the 12-year dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program by a self-imposed June 30 deadline.

Some US lawmakers are pushing for a bill that would levy more sanctions on Iran if it failed to reach a final nuclear deal with the major powers by the deadline in an attempt to pressure Iran to yield to US demands, including a call for a sharp cut in Tehran’s uranium enrichment capacity.  Key Democratic US senators said last week they would put off supporting new Iran sanctions for at least two months, after a threat by President Barack Obama to veto the bill he said could scuttle nuclear talks with Tehran.

The co-author of legislation, Senator Robert Menendez, said he and other Democrats would not back passage of the bill unless nuclear talks failed to produce a general understanding by March 24, according to Reuters. The US Senate Banking Committee voted last Thursday to advance the new sanctions bill. However, the bill is not expected to come up for a vote in the full Senate until at least March 24.