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GOP senators to introduce new Iran sanctions bill

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 Steven KirkSenate majority battle snags Biden Cabinet hopefuls The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Senate makes SCOTUS nominee Barrett a proxy for divisive 2020 Senate Republicans scramble to put Trump at arm's length MORE (Ill.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official Overnight Defense: Biden inaugurated as 46th president | Norquist sworn in as acting Pentagon chief | Senate confirms Biden's Intel chief Schumer becomes new Senate majority leader MORE (Fla.), Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteBottom line Seven Senate races to watch in 2022 Bottom line MORE (N.H.), Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsFormer Trump intel chief Coats introduces Biden nominee Haines at hearing Senate Intelligence Committee leaders warn of Chinese threats to national security New federal cybersecurity lead says 'rumor control' site will remain up through January MORE (Ind.) and Cory GardnerCory GardnerOvernight Defense: Joint Chiefs denounce Capitol attack | Contractors halt donations after siege | 'QAnon Shaman' at Capitol is Navy vet Lobbying world Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORE (Colo.), plus Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Biden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear McConnell faces conservative backlash over Trump criticism 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 CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzArizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official Biden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear MORE (Texas), a Republican presidential candidate, and Republicans Sens. John CornynJohn CornynDemocrats torn on impeachment trial timing McConnell keeps GOP guessing on Trump impeachment Schumer: Trump should not be eligible to run for office again MORE (Texas), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official Trump is gone, a political pariah — but with influence Biden DHS, Intel picks stress need to prioritize cybersecurity after SolarWinds hack MORE (Ohio), Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsSenate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes Window quickly closing for big coronavirus deal Trump's controversial Fed nominee stalled after Senate setback MORE (Kan.), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonSenate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official Overnight Defense: Biden inaugurated as 46th president | Norquist sworn in as acting Pentagon chief | Senate confirms Biden's Intel chief McConnell faces conservative backlash over Trump criticism MORE (Ark.), Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) Moran'I saw my life flash before my eyes': An oral history of the Capitol attack Electoral College fight splits GOP as opposition grows to election challenge Hillicon Valley: Texas, other states bring antitrust lawsuit against Google | Krebs emphasizes security of the election as senators butt heads | Twitter cracks down on coronavirus vaccine misinformation MORE (Kan.), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonLoeffler concedes to Warnock Hawley to still object to Pennsylvania after Capitol breached Hillary Clinton trolls McConnell: 'Senate Minority Leader' MORE (Ga.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMcConnell faces conservative backlash over Trump criticism GOP senators praise Biden's inauguration speech Biden urges Americans to join together in appeal for unity 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 CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerGOP lawmaker patience runs thin with Trump tactics Former GOP senator: Republicans cannot let Trump's 'reckless' post-election claims stand Cornyn: Relationships with Trump like 'women who get married and think they're going to change their spouse' 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.