Senate voters for new Iran sanctions over nuclear program

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The legislation sets up a review process that would require Trump to get Congress' approval before taking any action to ease, suspend or lift any sanctions on Russian Federation.

The sanctions come on the back of numerous rounds of other punitive measures taken by the USA and the European Union in response to Russia's military intervention in Ukraine and its annexation of the country's Black Sea peninsula of Crimea. It was noted, "the amendment of the Russian Federation will be attached to the pending bill on sanctions against Iran".

Final approval of the bill came a day after a 97-2 vote in favor of an amendment to the Iran Sanctions bill that puts into law existing American sanctions against Russia, dealing not only with USA protests over aggression in Crimea and Ukraine, but also in response to Russian cyber attacks linked to the 2016 elections.

President Donald Trump hasn't officially eased any current sanctions, but he previously suggested he'd consider doing so if Russian Federation helped the USA fight terrorism.

The Senate this week also added new sanctions punishing Russian Federation for meddling in the 2016 US election, annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and support for Syria's government in that country's six-year-long civil war.

The Republican-led Senate voted decisively to punish Moscow for interfering in the 2016 election by approving a wide-ranging sanctions package that targets key sectors of Russia's economy and individuals who carried out cyber attacks. The review mechanism was styled after 2015 legislation pushed by Republicans and approved overwhelmingly in the Senate that gave Congress a vote on whether Obama could lift sanctions against Iran.

The measure also asserts a role for Congress if the White House opts to ease any sanctions against Moscow.

The other senator voting no, Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky, told The Washington Examiner that he doesn't favor any new measures against Iran or Russian Federation.

In order for the bill to become law, it must still pass the US House of Representatives and be signed by Trump.

The investigation into Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. election took another turn, as the Washington Post reported Wednesday that Donald Trump is being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller for possible obstruction of justice.

"What I wouldn't want to do is close the channels off", Tillerson told a Senate committee.

The Senate bill imposes mandatory sanctions on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them.

Moscow will wait and see how new United States sanctions targeting Russian Federation would look like if introduced but they are counterproductive for the bilateral ties, Putin said.

In the House, the Republican speaker, Paul Ryan, has signaled backing for the measures, although his party's support for the measure may not be as strong as in the Senate.

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