Kaine, Murphy push extension of Iran sanctions
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A pair of Democratic senators is pushing to extend sanctions on Iran until President Obama can guarantee its nuclear material is for peaceful purposes.

Democratic Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Missouri Republican wins annual craft brewing competition for lawmakers Sen. Kaine: No reason for US to 'engage in military action to protect Saudi oil' MORE (Va.) and Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyWhite House officials, Giuliani come to Trump's defense on Ukraine allegations Sunday shows - Trump's Ukraine call, Iran dominate Toomey on gun reform: 'Beto O'Rourke is not helping' MORE (Conn.) have introduced legislation that would extend the Iran Sanctions Act, currently set to expire at the end of the year, "in order to effectuate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in guaranteeing that all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities."

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Under their proposal, the sanctions would be lifted when the president is able to certify to Congress that the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) director general "has reached a broader conclusion ... that all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities."

The United States, Iran and five other countries implemented the deal earlier this year, with Iran agreeing to limits on its program in exchange for relief from financial sanctions. Both Kaine and Murphy support the Iran nuclear agreement.

The Kaine-Murphy legislation doesn't specify when the president would be able to make that certification, but it could set up the sanctions law to be lifted on the deal's "transition day."

"Transition day" will occur eight years after the deal was adopted, or "upon a report from the director general of the IAEA ... stating that the IAEA has reached the broader conclusion that all nuclear materials in Iran remains in peaceful activities, whichever is earlier," according to the European Union's outline of the deal's implementation plan.

Amy Dudley, a spokeswoman for Kaine, said that under the Kaine-Murphy legislation "[if] Iran breaks the terms of the deal and the President is unable to make this certification, ISA is extended in an open-ended manner. This is to prevent a non-compliant Iran having a sanctions expiration date in its sights."

The legislation comes as lawmakers have pledged to extend the sanctions law but failed to build momentum behind one proposal. Supporters of an extension argue it's needed so sanctions can be "snapped back" if Iran violates the deal.

Sens. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezAs NFIP reauthorization deadline looms, Congress must end lethal subsidies Senate Democrats warn Trump: Don't invite Putin to G-7 Pelosi warns Mnuchin to stop 'illegal' .3B cut to foreign aid MORE (D-N.J.) and Mark KirkMark Steven Kirk The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Advocates push for EpiPens on flights after college student's mid-flight allergic reaction Funding the fight against polio MORE (R-Ill.) introduced legislation last year that would extend the sanctions law for 10 years.

Meanwhile, Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteGOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs Trump makes rare trip to Clinton state, hoping to win back New Hampshire Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE (R-N.H.), backed by 18 other GOP senators, introduced a separate a bill to extend the law through 2031 and require new sanctions tied to Iran's ballistic missile program.

Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinSunday shows - Trump's Ukraine call, Iran dominate Democratic senator: Pulling out of nuclear deal 'isolated the United States rather than isolating Iran' Senate confirms two Treasury nominees over Democratic objections MORE (D-Md.) has suggested Democrats will back an extension of the sanctions law, but told reporters last month that he was skeptical of Ayotte's legislation.

"I reviewed it awhile ago and felt it was not where we needed to be," he said. "[But] there is general consensus ... among the Democratic and Republican members of the House and Senate that the Iran Sanctions Act should be extended."

Cardin and Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' MORE (R-Tenn.) have been working on Iran sanctions legislation for months, which is expected to include an extension of the Iran Sanctions Act.