Key Dem wants tighter sanctions on Iran after missile test

Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors Senate passes .5B border bill, setting up fight with House Senate to vote on blocking Trump's Saudi arms deal as soon as this week MORE wants the Obama administration to bolster sanctions against Iran after it launched a ballistic missile test earlier this month.   

The New Jersey Democrat sent a letter Monday to Secretary of State John Kerry pressing the administration to tighten sanctions against Iran and wanting to know what "meaningful steps" it will take over the missile test. 
 
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"The Iranian regime is drawing a line in the sand that demonstrates with malice that it will only selectively meet its obligations with respect to internationally sanctioned weapons programs," he said in the letter to Kerry. "I write to recommend to you that you use the Administration’s discretionary authority to tighten the full range of sanctions available to you to penalize Iran." 
 
Menendez added that Iran's violation of a United Nations resolution on missile activities is "common" and "must be met with a decisive response in the language that Iran understands."
 
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have voiced concern over a long-range missile test that Iran conducted earlier this month. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said last week that the test violated U.N. resolutions, and that the United States will refer the incident to the U.N. Security Council. 
 
Menendez wants Kerry to say whether or not the administration will strengthen sanctions against Iran, and, in light of the missile test, if it will support extending the Iran Sanctions Act. 
 
Administration officials have previously voiced skepticism about extending the sanctions law, suggesting that lawmakers should wait until next year—when it is currently set to expire—before taking it up. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told The Hill earlier this year that the Senate would be able to override a potential veto on extending the sanctions law.
 
Menendez added in his letter that Iran is trying to "test American commitment and resolve" and that the United States, its allies and the U.N. Security Council should "respond swiftly, decisively, and unapologetically." 
 
Menendez has been one of the most vocal Democratic critics in the Senate of the administration's foreign policy, and was one of four Democratic senators to oppose the Iran nuclear agreement.