Majlis Response to Senate Sanctions Bill Up for Debate

The parliamentary bill has been drafted at the behest of the Majlis speaker who has called for a comprehensive response to any tightening of US sanctions against Iran
Hossein Naqavi HosseiniHossein Naqavi Hosseini

Iran's Parliament is set to take up a bill today as a comprehensive response to the US Congress's new sanctions measure, a lawmaker said.

"The Majlis, in its open session on Sunday, will consider legislation with a double-urgency status to respond to hostile moves by the US Congress. It is a mother bill that covers the terms of all previous parliamentary measures against the Americans' antagonistic and vindictive behavior," Hossein Naqavi Hosseini added.

It has been crafted at the behest of Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, IRNA reported.

The congressional measure, which passed the Senate on a 98-2 vote last month, targets Iran over its ballistic missile launches and alleged terrorism charges and human rights abuses.

It still needs to clear the House of Representatives before being sent to US President Donald Trump to be signed into law.

"If the [urgency of] Majlis bill is approved [on Sunday], it would then be considered by the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission within the next 24 hours and its outline and details would be discussed in the Majlis session on Tuesday," Hosseini, the commission's spokesman, said.

The Senate bill, which also includes fresh penalties on Russia, hit a constitutional snag in the house where lawmakers cited a breach of the law that requires any fund-raising bill to originate in the house.

  Unwilling Republicans

Senators accused the house Republicans of stalling the bill on behalf of the White House and moved to repair it and get it back on track.

Democrats said the house could have swiftly and easily deal with the so-called "blue slip" issue.

The senate held a voice vote on Thursday to pass technical changes to the bill and kick it back to the house. It is unclear how quickly house Republican leaders will move to bring the measure up for a vote, but any action at this point would position final congressional votes after Trump's meeting with Putin next week. One house committee chairman is still working to put the brakes on the sanctions measure.

"We should not move it straight to the floor," House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions told CNN.

Democrats have been wary that the house is trying to water down the bill or bury it with procedural hurdles.

The senate's bill is widely viewed as a rebuke of Trump and his favorable comments about the Kremlin.

The White House says it is still reviewing the legislation and has not taken a position, though Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have both raised concerns about Congress eroding the administration's authority to determine sanctions.

In addition to establishing new sanctions against Iran and Russia, the bill would create a new congressional review process for Congress to block the executive branch if it tries to ease sanctions on Moscow.

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