Majlis Panel to Debate Anti-US Bill Today

Iran vows to give an appropriate and firm response to new US sanctions while remaining vigilant not to violate the nuclear deal
Ali Akbar VelayatiAli Akbar Velayati
The US Senate on Thursday passed the Iran sanctions bill 98-2, two days after the house pushed the measure through by an overwhelming margin of 419-3

A top parliamentary commission is to convene an extraordinary meeting on Saturday to consider an anti-American bill in response to a new sanctions measure passed by the US Congress, the panel's spokesperson said.

"As scheduled, Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission will hold a special meeting on Saturday to discuss a bill to confront 'adventurist and terrorist' US actions in the region," Hossein Naqavi Hosseini also told Tasnim News Agency on Friday.

A day earlier, the US Senate voted decisively to approve "the Countering Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act", which is part of a package that also includes stiff financial sanctions against Russia and North Korea.

The senate vote capped weeks of controversy, sending the measure to US President Donald Trump to be signed into law.

"The new sanctions indicate that the Americans are still pursuing their hostile line and pressure [campaign] against the Islamic Republic," Hosseini added.

The senate passed the bill 98-2, two days after the House of Representatives pushed the measure through by an overwhelming margin of 419-3, the Washington Post reported.

Both are veto proof numbers, as the White House has wavered on whether the president would sign the measure into law.

The White House has objected to a provision in the bill that requires congressional approval for any attempt by the president to lift the sanctions on Russia.

But faced with heavy bipartisan support for the legislation in the house and senate, Trump has little choice but to sign the bill into law.


***Off-Handed Comment

Trump's communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, suggested earlier Thursday on CNN's New Day that Trump might veto the bill and "negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians".

Senator Bob Corker said that would be a serious mistake and called Scaramucci's remark an "off-handed comment". If Trump rejected the bill, Corker said, Congress would overrule him.

The sanctions package imposes mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them.

The measure would apply sanctions against the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps on alleged terrorism charges. It would also penalize Iran for alleged human rights abuses and also enforce an arms embargo.

The Congress move has drawn the ire of Iranian officials.

Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to the Leader of Islamic Revolution, said a high-powered committee that oversees the 2015 nuclear deal is weighing an "appropriate, firm response".

Velayati reiterated Iran's pledge to retaliate while remaining vigilant not to breach the landmark agreement.

"We have a lot of options for action but we will avoid violating JCPOA," he said, using an abbreviation that stands for the formal title of the accord, namely the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

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