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Senate panel backs bill to authorize new sanctions against Iran

WASHINGTON – A Senate panel overwhelmingly back bipartisan legislation that would allow President Donald Trump to new sanctions against Iran, while keeping the landmark nuclear deal with Tehran.

The Foreign Relations Committee voted 18-3 on Thursday despite the concerns of the former Minister of foreign affairs John Kerry, and several Democrats that the measure may, however, lead to the unravelling of the nuclear agreement negotiated by the Obama administration.

Kerry has warned lawmakers to be “cautious” in pushing ahead with new sanctions against Iran, in the wake of President Hassan Rouhani’s re-election last week to another four-year term. Rouhani, a political moderate, who scored a resounding victory on a hard-line opponent.

With his victory is seen by many as a referendum on his push for international outreach that led to the nuclear deal.

In a series of tweets Wednesday, Kerry said: “there is a lot in the air/space for misinterpretation. This is not the time for a new Iran bill.” Kerry, who for nearly three decades in the Senate and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, urged his former colleagues to consider the risk of the reduction of the nuclear agreement by imposing new sanctions.

“We have to take into account the consequences of confrontation without conversation,” Kerry wrote.

But Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the committee’s Republican chairman and one of the account of the sponsors, said he recently reviewed top-secret intelligence that detailed Tehran’s support for terrorism and other destabilizing actions.

“It is amazing what Iran continues to do all over the world,” said Corker, who his colleagues will be faced with the threat Tehran poses.

Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the committee’s top Democrat, said the bill is “100 percent consistent” with U.S. obligations under the nuclear pact. Cardin, arguing for the legislation, said the iranian leaders are taking the country “on a path of destruction.”

The committee’s bill imposes mandatory sanctions on people involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program, and anyone who does business with them. The measure also would apply to terrorism sanctions, the Revolutionary guard and the enforcement of an arms embargo.

In exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear program, the united states and other world powers agreed to suspend wide oil, trade and financial sanctions that have choked the Iranian economy. As part of the July 2015 multinational agreement, Iran also regained access to frozen assets held abroad.

Israel and Republicans in congress have long assailed the agreement as a windfall to Iran. They have argued that the deal only delayed Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and not to the nature of the inspections of its atomic sites that would ensure Tehran does not cheat. The lifting of the economic sanctions the economy of Iran, GOP legislators added, and the country to funnel more money to terrorist groups.

But the nuclear deal remains in place despite Trump’s pledge during the presidential campaign to dispose of or to negotiate the pact. Instead, the State Department took an important step last week in the direction of the preservation of the pact by the issue of a declaration of keep away from the penalties of the fracture back into place. And the Trumpet’s administration notified Congress last month that Iran complies with the terms and conditions of the agreement.

Neither Iran, nor the other countries in the negotiations on the agreement have an interest in re-opening the deal, and AMERICAN companies can lose money if the deal is scuttled. Tehran has inked multibillion-dollar deals with Boeing and Airbus since the deal went into effect.

The Obama administration had opposed legislation that would slap Iran with more sanctions over concerns that such a step could give Iran an excuse to walk away from the deal by saying that the U.S. had reneged on its commitments to the sanctions of the lighting.

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Reach Richard Lardner on Twitter: http://twitter.com/rplardner

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