Senate GOP to Obama: Iran must be punished

A group of Senate Republicans is slamming President Obama as having failed to respond to Iran's ballistic missile tests. 

"A continued failure of the administration to impose consequences on Tehran for its ballistic missile tests... will confirm the dangerous perception of the regime in Iran that it can ignore its obligations with impunity and the Obama administration will do nothing," Republican Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteLate polls show Dems gaining in governor races High anxiety for GOP Trump: 'Very disappointed' GOP senator dropped support MORE (N.H.), Richard BurrRichard BurrGOP: Obama ‘in denial’ about healthcare law failures NC Senate ad slams Burr for standing by Trump Poll: Trump, Clinton in close race in North Carolina MORE (N.C.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Graham56 memorable moments from a wild presidential race High anxiety for GOP NYC mayor: Trump sounds like ‘a third-world dictator’ MORE (S.C.) and Mark KirkMark KirkGreat Lakes senators seek boost for maritime system GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election Iran sending ships to Yemeni coast after US ship fires at Houthi sites MORE (Ill.) said on Monday. 
Obama is under pressure from both parties to take a firm line in response to Tehran's two ballistic missile tests late last year. 
The Republican senators said the administration should roll out a "strong set of sanctions" and refrain from lifting sanctions against Iran under a separate nuclear agreement until Iran ends any military dimensions to the program. 
While the administration, and key Democrats, have argued that the missile tests are separate from the nuclear agreement, Republicans argue that the two are inextricably linked because the missiles could potentially carry a nuclear warhead. 
Ayotte introduced legislation last month that would block the Obama administration from lifting sanctions, which could threaten the nuclear pact.
The administration had been expected to announce sanctions against Iranian individuals and companies involved in missile development, but has walked that back. 
White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters earlier Monday that new sanctions have been "considered" by the Treasury Department. 
"This is an option that has been on the table for some time," he said. "Ultimately we will impose those financial penalties, we will impose those sanctions, at a time and place of our choosing."