House votes to toughen Iran sanctions
© Greg Nash

The House passed legislation cracking down on Iran Tuesday, the anniversary of the nuclear deal loathed by Republicans.

The two bills block Iran's access to the dollar and impose sanctions for its ballistic missile program. Lawmakers passed the two bills along party lines before leaving for a seven-week recess. 

A day earlier, the House also approved a measure to stop the federal government from buying heavy water, a material used in some nuclear reactors, from Iran.


Iran is required to reduce its supply of heavy water under the international nuclear accord, and in April the U.S. purchased 32 tons of the material to assist Iran in meeting its obligation. 

Republicans touted the trio of bills as ways to hold Iran accountable as the international community implements the agreement, which all of them opposed.

“There is something we have always agreed on from the start. Deal or no deal — good or bad deal — we always agreed to hold Iran accountable for terrorism, for its development of ballistic missiles and for its human rights abuses committed against its own people,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyHillicon Valley: Google bans Zoom from its work computers | Dem cautions White House against using surveillance to fight virus | Lawmakers push House leaders on remote voting Rep. Massie threatens to block next relief bill, calls for remote voting Lawmakers outline proposals for virtual voting MORE (R-Calif.).

One of the measures approved Thursday requires the president to impose sanctions on any official affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and anyone who has assisted development of Iran’s ballistic missile program or been involved with human rights abuses. 

The other, authored by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), enhances existing policy preventing Iran from accessing money through the U.S. financial system.

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrip that led to acting Navy secretary's resignation cost 3K: reports Overnight Health Care: Trump steps up attack on WHO | Fauci says deaths could be lower than first projected | House panel warns federal stockpile of medical supplies depleted | Mnuchin, Schumer in talks over relief deal House Republicans, key administration officials push for additional funding for coronavirus small business loans MORE (D-Calif.) urged Democrats this week to oppose the measures and uphold President Obama’s veto threats.

“Regardless of whether you supported the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), we all agree that Iran must not possess a nuclear weapon. At this time, the JCPOA is the best way to achieve this critical goal,” Pelosi wrote.

And in a Statement of Administration Policy, the White House warned that the bills could undermine the Iran deal, aimed at curtailing Iran's nuclear arsenal.

“These bills, separately or collectively, thus would impact the continued viability of the JCPOA, a diplomatic arrangement that peacefully and verifiably prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” the statement reads.

Devin Henry contributed.