US Democrats in the House of Representatives frustrated by the delay in implementing an earlier sanctions package against Iran and Russia introduced a new sanctions bill yesterday.
Hoping to send a strong message to President Donald Trump, senior Democrats introduced an almost identical sanctions bill that was passed 98-2 last June but has stalled since.
The previous bill called for imposing “sanctions with respect to Iran in relation to Iran’s ballistic missile programme, support for acts of international terrorism, and violations of human rights, and for other purposes”.
This bill directed the Departments of State, Defense, and Treasury and the Director of National Intelligence to submit a strategy every two years for deterring conventional and asymmetric Iranian activities that threaten the United States and key allies in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond.
Ongoing revelations about Trump’s relations with Russia is said to be the reason for moving the bill forward. Democrats have accused House Republicans of stalling the previous sanctions package because of the Trump administration’s concern over imposing limits on the US president’s decision making powers over Russia. The package required a process to be set up by Congress to approve any effort by the US president to ease sanctions on Russia.
Opposition to the June sanctions bill was not restricted to Capitol Hill. It was revealed that the US energy industry has been lobbying against the bill and some Republican House members, particularly from oil-producing states, have said they might want changes.