Iran calls sanctions bill a violation of nuclear deal

Iran calls sanctions bill a violation of nuclear deal
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Iran is calling new sanctions passed by Congress a breach of the international nuclear deal signed in 2015, casting shadows on the future of the accord.

A day after the Senate cleared a 10-year extension of the Iran Sanctions Act by a vote of 99-0, the Iranian government on Friday threatened to retaliate. 

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“Iran has proved that it sticks to its international agreements, but it also has appropriate responses for all situations,” said Bahram Ghasemi, a spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, according to the Voice of America. “The extension of sanctions by the U.S. Congress is a violation of the deal.”

The action by Congress was a “clear violation” of the terms of the pact, echoed nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi, according to Reuters.

“If they implement the [Iran Sanctions Act], Iran will take action accordingly.”

The steps Iran is prepared to take remain unclear.

But passage of the bill, which President Obama has pledged to sign, adds additional tension to the U.S.-Iran relationship on the eve of President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpShocking summit with Putin caps off Trump’s turbulent Europe trip GOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Trump stuns the world at Putin summit MORE’s rise to the White House. Trump has strongly criticized the nuclear deal with Iran and has vowed to renegotiate it.

Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had previously declared that passage of the bill would amount to a breach of the nuclear pact.

American officials have vigorously denied allegations that the new bill violates terms of the nuclear agreement reached with Iran and five other world powers.

Instead, U.S. officials argue that it is necessary as a backstop so that sanctions can “snap back" in case Iran violates its obligations under the deal.  

The pact imposes limits on Iran’s nuclear ability in exchange for the lifting of sanctions on its financial and oil sectors.

Some congressional Republicans had sought to broaden the scope of the sanctions legislation passed on Thursday, but many Democrats were resistant to support anything but a “clean” extension of current law.

The bill had previously passed the House in a near-unanimous 419-1 vote.