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 Kirk (Ill.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Dan Coats (Ind.) and Cory Gardner (Colo.), plus Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.). Ten other Republican senators have also signed on so far.  

{mosads}“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 Cruz (Texas), a Republican presidential candidate, and Republicans Sens. John Cornyn (Texas), Rob Portman (Ohio), Pat Roberts (Kan.), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Tom Cotton (Ark.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Lisa Murkowski (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 Corker (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.

Tags Bob Corker Cory Gardner Dan Coats Jerry Moran John Cornyn Johnny Isakson Kelly Ayotte Lisa Murkowski Marco Rubio Mark Kirk Mitch McConnell Pat Roberts Rob Portman Ted Cruz Tom Cotton
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