Donald Trump's White House may seek to water down Russian Federation sanctions
20 June, 2017, 00:44 | Author: Brittany Bishop
The U.S. Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed new sanctions on Iran and Russian Federation and put a limit on the White House's ability to roll back any Russian Federation sanctions.
The bill would also impose sanctions on Iran with regard to its ballistic missile activities that are not linked to the nuclear agreement the Arab country signed with the US and other countries.
The amendment - which passed 97-2 - creates new sanctions in several categories, including those "conducting malicious cyber activity on behalf of the Russian government," people doing business with Russian intelligence and defense agencies, and those "supplying weapons to the Assad regime" in Syria or engaged in corruption or human rights abuses.
It also would require President Donald Trump to seek congressional permission to relax the current regime of sanctions against Russian Federation, possibly limiting his leeway to improve relations between Washington and Moscow. If approved, the legislation will then be approved by the House of Representatives and, finally, be signed into law by President Donald Trump.
While Corker was measured, other Republican and Democrat senators said Russian Federation needed to understand the USA position on its election interference.
The new bill would slap sanctions on companies in other countries looking to invest in those projects in the absence of USA companies, a practice known as backfilling. Republican Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul voted against the amendment.
The Senate voted almost unanimously Wednesday to allow Congress to strip the president of the power to unilaterally lift existing sanctions against Russian Federation, a matter that had many of President Donald Trump's allies siding with his harshest critics.
These latest sanctions are in retaliation for Russia's interference in last year's presidential election.
Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee said in a statement that the vote sent 'a strong signal to President Putin while ensuring the Trump administration has the flexibility it needs'.
President Trump and Moscow have always denied any collusion. The bipartisan effort showcases that the Obama legacy on relations with Iran, and specifically the Iran deal (which is not rescinded in the Senate bill), have become deeply unpopular.
The legislation was filed as an amendment to an Iran sanctions bill.
Earlier this month, Yahoo News reported that the Trump administration secretly tried to eliminate Russia's economic sanctions. But in a Senate panel Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned against passing a measure, saying it would make it more hard to improve U.S.
Sanctions are authorized on Russia's mining and shipping sectors as well, and the government is required to study the USA economy's exposure to Russian state-owned enterprises.
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