Senate passes sweeping sanctions bill targeting Iran, Russia

The White House has not said if Trump would sign or veto the legislation, which would have to be passed by the House of Representatives before it could go to the president's desk.

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.

It's not clear what exact changes the White House wants to make to the bill, or that those changes would actually weaken the proposed penalties against Russian Federation, but Senate Democrats have been attempting to sound an alarm over just that possibility. It was noted, "the amendment of the Russian Federation will be attached to the pending bill on sanctions against Iran".

The bipartisan support for the year's most significant GOP-backed limitation on Trump comes as the White House remains silent on the plan to sanction Moscow, even as President Putin pushes back at USA intelligence officials' conclusion that Russian actors conducted cyberattacks to disrupt the 2016 presidential election.

The White House stressed that it is committed to the existing Russian sanctions regime that it believes is best suited to address U.S. concerns and would keep sanctions in place until Russia resolves the situation in Ukraine.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had encouraged the Senate to hold off on more sanctions, saying that he'd like more time to try and work diplomacy with Russian Federation.

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Sanctions would be placed on Russians who violate human rights, supply weapons to the Bashar al-Asad regime in Syria or who are involved in the Russian defense and intelligence industry.

Previously, US energy sanctions had only targeted Russia's future high-tech energy projects, such as drilling for oil in the Arctic, fracking and offshore drilling. "I think we struck a very good balance".

Maryland senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, told TWS that the White House might express some reservations about the bill, but he expected them to support it.

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. Mike Crapo (R-Id.) on the floor of the Senate on June 13, aside from codifying existing sanctions, the amendment also attacks Russian economic activities in gas and oil production, railway, shipping and metals and mining.

"However, we can't accept the threat of illegal and extraterritorial sanctions against European companies", they said. Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Rand Paul of Kentucky were the only votes against the bill.

  • Alfonso Moody