Senate passes sweeping sanctions bill targeting Iran, Russia

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On Thursday, the Senate overwhelmingly backed a bill that would impose additional sanctions on Iran and Russian Federation.

As voting continued, the 100-member Senate backed the measure by a margin of 96-2.

On Iran, the bill directs the president to impose sanctions on any entity that knowingly contributes to Iran's ballistic missile program or other programs to develop vehicles to deliver weapons of mass destruction.

The U.S. Senate has overwhelmingly approved legislation that included tougher new sanctions against Russian Federation and Iran, making it more hard for President Donald Trump to ease existing restrictions without congressional approval.

Now the bill should be considered in the House of Representatives, and then it will be handed over to President Donald Trump for signature. Indeed, the bill requires a congressional review if the president attempts to ease or end sanctions against Moscow, according to the Associated Press.

"I would urge Congress to ensure any legislation allows the president to have the flexibility to adjust sanctions to meet the needs of what is always an evolving diplomatic situation", Tillerson said Wednesday during the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that he believes the new sanctions "complicate the Russian-American relationship", essentially echoing the sentiment expressed by the administration.

Despite the overwhelming vote, the Russian Federation sanctions package was no sure thing. Republicans and Democrats have said they doubt Trump would veto the bill.

Additionally, the legislation imposes terrorism-related sanctions on Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, an arm of the regime tasked with exporting its terrorist ideology.

Previously, U.S. energy sanctions had only targeted Russia's future high-tech energy projects, such as drilling for oil in the Arctic, fracking and offshore drilling.

If the legislation passes the House, it would head to Trump for signing.

The source drew attention to the fact, that in this case the Trump administration as a whole stands for the sanctions against Russian Federation. In addition, the anti-Russian sanctions, now issued in the form of the presidential decrees, will receive the status of law, which will complicate the procedure for their mitigation or cancellation.

Under the legislation, new Russian Federation sanctions could be levied on entities engaging in "malicious cyber activity". They blocked U.S. companies such as Exxon Mobil, where Tillerson was chairman, from investing in such projects.

Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., joined Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., as the only two legislators voting against the new bill.