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Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

US Senate Overwhelmingly Backs Stronger Sanctions Against Russia, Iran

US Senate Overwhelmingly Backs Stronger Sanctions Against Russia, Iran

Earlier this week, the Senate came together and overwhelmingly passed a bill that would impose new sanctions against Russian Federation and allow Congress to review any attempts by the president to lessen them.

The Senate also voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to add provisions to the bill allowing the United States space agency NASA to continue using Russian-made rocket engines and the 100 senators votedunanimously for an amendment reaffirming the U.S. commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance. House aides said they expected the chamber would begin to debate the measure in coming weeks.

The amendment to the underlying Iran sanctions bill maintains and substantially expands sanctions against the government of Russian Federation in response to the violation of the territorial integrity of the Ukraine and Crimea, its brazen cyber-attacks and interference in elections, and its continuing aggression in Syria.

The 100-member Senate backed the measure on Thursday by a margin of 98-2. The provision, which was offered by Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, is another message aimed at Trump.

On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the USA further sanctions would damage relations, though stopped short of saying how the Russian government would respond in kind.

The Senate and House of Representatives still need to sign off on the full bill before it would reach Trump's desk for final approval.

"It's time to respond to Russia's attack on American democracy with strength, with resolve, with common goal, and with action", said Republican Senator John McCain.

It also would require President Donald Trump to seek congressional permission to relax the current regime of sanctions against Russian Federation, possibly limiting his leeway to improve relations between Washington and Moscow.

"This policy has always existed-restraining Russian Federation", he said.

Sanctions are authorized on Russia's mining and shipping sectors as well, and the government is required to study the USA economy's exposure to Russian state-owned enterprises. And it would ask the administration to prepare a study on the possible effects of expanding sanctions to cover sovereign debt and any derivative products.

The Russia sanctions measure was added as an amendment to an Iranian sanctions bill, after a deal was struck between the heads of the Senate Foreign Relations and Banking Committees. Those who are sanctioned would have their assets within USA jurisdiction frozen and would be barred from entering the country. So the White House would have to reject stricter punishments against Iran, which it favors, in order to derail the parts of the legislation it may object to. "The Crapo-Brown-Corker-Cardin bill will result in some very powerful, new sanctions against Russian Federation".

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