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Sanders: New Iran sanctions could blow up nuclear deal

Sanders: New Iran sanctions could blow up nuclear deal
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersHarris presses young people to vote early in Iowa trip Dems lower expectations for 'blue wave' Election Countdown: Takeaways from heated Florida governor's debate | DNC chief pushes back on 'blue wave' talk | Manchin faces progressive backlash | Trump heads to Houston rally | Obama in Las Vegas | Signs of huge midterm turnout MORE (I-Vt.) slammed the Senate's decision on Thursday to levy new sanctions on Iran, saying that the penalties could put the 2015 nuclear deal at risk.

Sanders joined Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPaul to Saudi government: 'It takes a lot of damn gall' to lecture US Congress raises pressure on Saudi Arabia The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump says he is cutting foreign aid over caravan | Lawmakers point fingers at Saudi crown prince | DNC chair downplays 'blue wave' talk MORE (R-Ky.) as the only senators to oppose the sanctions, which target both Iran and Russia. He said in a statement after the vote that, while he fully supported penalties against the Kremlin for its efforts to meddle in the 2016 election, the Iran sanctions could have dangerous consequences.

"That is not a risk worth taking, particularly at a time of heightened tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia and its allies," Sanders said in a statement. "I think the United States should play a more even-handed role in the Middle East and find ways not only to address Iran's activities, but also Saudi Arabia's decades-long support for radical extremism."

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The bill, which passed the Senate 98-2, imposes sanctions on Tehran for its ballistic missile development, human rights violations, weapons transfers and support for designated terrorist groups. It also gives Congress the power to block attempts by the White House to roll back sanctions on Russia.

The new round of sanctions comes as at least four congressional committees are investigating Russia's role in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

The Trump administration has urged lawmakers not to strengthen penalties on Russia, arguing that doing so could jeopardize the administration's ability to work and improve relations with the Kremlin.