Efforts Underway in US to Reinstate Iran Sanctions

Efforts Underway in US to Reinstate Iran Sanctions Efforts Underway in US to Reinstate Iran Sanctions

Pro-Israel lobbyists and US congressmen are making a renewed push for imposing widespread sanctions on Iran, a lawmaker said, referring to two anti-Iran bills recently introduced in the US Congress.

"Under the current circumstances and following the recent political changes in the United States, Zionist lobbyists have intensified their anti-Iran campaign and seek to create a new wave of sanctions against the Islamic Republic," Morteza Saffari also told ICANA on Saturday.

US lawmaker Alcee Hastings has reintroduced a bill, first proposed last year, that would preemptively give the president formal authority to utilize military force against Iran.

While the measure is unlikely to attract significant support, Hastings' effort is the first of what is expected to be a flood of hawkish Iran legislation as the new Congress gets underway.

Another bill introduced earlier this week by Sen. Dean Heller would impose sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program and could receive significant support.

However, the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers has obligated the US to prevent the reimposition of sanctions lifted under the accord for a separate justification.

Iran received sanctions relief in exchange for temporary curbs on its nuclear work.

US president-elect, Donald Trump, has railed against the agreement negotiated under President Barack Obama's administration, calling it "a disaster" and "the worst deal ever negotiated".

Saffari said Trump's election has substantially reinforced the anti-deal agenda of his fellow Republicans who control Congress and have introduced several measures to interfere with its implementation.

  Common Approach

"Outgoing US Secretary of State [John Kerry] has recently stressed the need for maintaining additional US pressure on Iran over its missile issue," which shows that the current and incoming US administrations pursue a common hostile approach toward Iran's missile activities, Saffari said.   

The US Congress almost unanimously voted for a bill to renew the Iran Sanctions Act, which ultimately became law last month, without needing the presidential approval.

This is in contravention of deal that prevents the US from taking actions intended to disrupt the normalization of permissible economic activity with Iran and requires it to take proactive steps to ensure Iran's access in areas such as finance.

However, Tehran has not reaped the economic benefits of the agreement mainly because of residual US sanctions that prohibit the use of dollar to clear Iran-related transactions through Washington's financial system.

This has left international businesses and banks too cautious to approach and engage with their Iranian counterparts.

They are deterred by the risk of becoming subject to heavy fines for unwittingly violating the US restrictions.

Media reports indicate that the Congress will press ahead with new sanctions bills, including sanctions with a non-nuclear label.

Congressional aides indicated to the Jerusalem Post that a series of votes are expected to further undermine the nuclear accord.  


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