Extension of Iran Sanctions Act by US Senate violates deal: Tehran

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Tehran, Dec 2 (IANS) Tehran on Friday slammed a US Senate vote to extend the Iran Sanctions Act for another decade as a violation of the landmark nuclear deal reached between Iran and the P5+1 group last year.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said the 10-year extension of the sanctions law, which authorises the US president to impose bans on Iran, was against the nuclear accord that Tehran struck with the US and five other world powers — Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany — in July 2015.

“As it was repeatedly announced by senior Iranian officials, the recent decision by the US House of Representatives and Senate to extend sanctions against Iran runs counter to the JCPOA and US obligations under international law on non-interference in domestic and international relations of other countries,” Press TV quoted Qassemi as saying.

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In a largely symbolic move, US Senators on Thursday unanimously backed the renewal of the Iran Sanctions Act by a vote of 99 to 0. It needs US President Barack Obama’s signature to become law.

The House of Representatives had also voted 419 to 1 last month to reauthorise the sanctions, which was first introduced in 1996 to punish investments in Iran’s energy industry based on accusations that Tehran was pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy programme.

Congressmen said they wanted the sanctions to be extended for another decade to send a strong signal that any US president would have the ability to “snap back” sanctions on Iran.

The Obama administration has expressed reservations about the utility of the legislation, arguing that it already has the authority to extend or impose additional bans on Tehran, and that the sanctions are no longer necessary after the nuclear deal, which took effect in January.

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However, congressional aides said Obama was expected sign it into law when it reaches his desk. The act was set to expire at the end of 2016.

Qassemi further said “the political developments inside the US and interactions between its legislative and executive branches cannot justify the country’s failure to abide by its international commitments”.

He added that Tehran has already “proved its commitment to international agreements” and has “made necessary preparations to effectively, firmly and prudently safeguard the nation’s rights.”

The Iranian Foreign Ministry, he said, is closely monitoring the US administration’s conduct, and will present a report to the committee tasked with monitoring the JCPOA’s implementation.

Iran has warned that the renewal of sanctions will be a violation of commitments under the JCPOA, and has threatened reprisal if the US extends the longstanding act.

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