GOP senators to introduce new Iran sanctions bill

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A group of Republican senators is planning on Thursday to introduce a bill to sanction Iran for its support of terrorist activities throughout the Middle East and its human rights abuses, The Hill has learned. 

The bill will be introduced by Sens. Mark KirkMark KirkFormer Miss Universe becomes surprise story to emerge from debate Senate rivals gear up for debates The Trail 2016: Trump seizes on Charlotte violence MORE (Ill.), Marco RubioMarco RubioOpposition to Obama's radical disarmament agenda has proven effective Independent candidate sues to get on Florida Senate debate stage Rubio ‘deeply concerned’ by Trump’s Cuba business MORE (Fla.), Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteAbortion rights group ads tie vulnerable GOP senators to Trump Election-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Vulnerable NH Republican ties reelection bid to Trump MORE (N.H.), Dan CoatsDan CoatsDem groups invest big in Bayh in Ind. Senate race Indiana Senate race tightens as Republicans take on Bayh Conservative group targets Evan Bayh on ObamaCare MORE (Ind.) and Cory GardnerCory GardnerState official hints more Chinese firms being probed for N. Korean ties GOP senators ask watchdog to examine Gitmo site surveys spending GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase MORE (Colo.), plus Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellNo GOP leaders attending Shimon Peres funeral Dem leaders defend overriding 9/11 bill veto GOP leaders express reservations a day after 9/11 veto override MORE (Ky.). Ten other Republican senators have also signed on so far.  

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“I reject our current posture of willful ignorance and inaction towards Iran's terrorist activities, illegal missile testing, funding Assad's war, and human rights abuses,” said Kirk, a staunch critic of Iran and advocate of Iran sanctions. 

“The Administration’s response cannot once again be it’s ‘not supposed to be doing that’ as Iran continues to walk all over U.S. foreign policy and the international community," he said. 

The new bill, dubbed the "Iran Terrorism and Human Rights Sanctions Act of 2016" would: 

1) impose new sanctions against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Mahan Air, an Iranian airline that has assisted the IRGC and IRGC-Qods force in spreading terrorism and militancy throughout the Middle East; 

2) codify the current prohibition against Iran’s direct and indirect access to the U.S. financial system, while also streamlining and strengthening the stringent requirements for the president to remove Iran or any other country from the state sponsors of terrorism list;  

3) impose new sanctions against Iran for human rights abuses.

It also reiterates the administration's position that the imposition of sanctions against Iran for terrorism, human rights, and other non-nuclear reasons do not violate the nuclear deal negotiated with Iran, which lifted sanctions in exchange for limits on its nuclear program. 

The bill is one of several new measures the Senate Republicans are planning to propose, in light of Iran's continued actions in defiance of the international community. 

Two of the bill's sponsors — Kirk and Ayotte — are facing reelection in 2016. Kirk, a Navy veteran, is facing a tough reelection fight against Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), an Army National Guard veteran who is running for his seat. 

Other co-sponsors include Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzFour states sue to stop internet transition House approves stopgap funding, averting costly shutdown Overnight Tech: TV box plan faces crucial vote | Trump transition team to meet tech groups | Growing scrutiny of Yahoo security MORE (Texas), a Republican presidential candidate, and Republicans Sens. John CornynJohn CornynGOP leaders express reservations a day after 9/11 veto override McConnell opens door to changing 9/11 bill Election-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables MORE (Texas), Rob PortmanRob PortmanPortman ad features father of fallen Iraq soldier Election-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Grassley accuses Reid of 'pure unfiltered partisanship' MORE (Ohio), Pat RobertsPat RobertsGOP senators ask watchdog to examine Gitmo site surveys spending Senate panel approves pension rescue for coal miners Congress set for Saudi showdown with Obama MORE (Kan.), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Tom CottonTom CottonOpposition to Obama's radical disarmament agenda has proven effective Fears mount that Obama will change course on Israel in final months GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase MORE (Ark.), Jerry MoranJerry MoranGOP senators press Treasury to withdraw estate tax proposal Senate panel advances ticket bots crackdown Overnight Tech: GOP says internet fight isn't over | EU chief defends Apple tax ruling | Feds roll out self-driving car guidelines | Netflix's China worries MORE (Kan.), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonGrassley pulling away from Dem challenger Fifteen years since pivotal executive order, STORM Act could help fight terror finance GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase MORE (Ga.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiOvernight Energy: Obama integrates climate change into national security planning GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase Overnight Energy: Lawmakers kick off energy bill talks MORE (Alaska), David Perdue (Ga.). Portman is also up for reelection.

Last week, Iran test-fired ballistic missiles for two days in a row, despite a United Nations Security Council resolution calling upon Iran not to do so. 

Sen. Bob CorkerBob CorkerDem leaders defend overriding 9/11 bill veto GOP leaders express reservations a day after 9/11 veto override White House: Congress has 'buyer's remorse' on 9/11 bill MORE (R-Tenn.) said there is growing bipartisan support for extending sanctions legislation on Iran set to expire at the end of this year, as well as new sanctions on Iran's ballistic missile program.

--This report was updated at 12:50 p.m.