The sanctions target eight Iranian organizations for terrorism-related activities and about 17 for ballistic missile-related activities, a source told Reuters. The sanctions would be imposed using powers granted by existing executive orders.
The sanctions had already been under consideration, Reuters reported, but Iran’s ballistic missile launch on Sunday prompted President Donald Trump to take action. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn said Wednesday that the United States was “officially putting Iran on notice” after the missile test, with Trump tweeting using similar language the following morning. Neither specified at the time what “on notice” meant.
While Iran considers the introduction or renewal of any sanctions to be a violation of the nuclear deal, members of both parties in the United States believe that doing so is fine provided that they are for non-nuclear-related reasons. The imposition of new sanctions on Iran has bipartisan support. Then-Secretary of State John Kerry was emphatic on that point at a July 2015 hearing.
Many Democrats today are supportive of sanctioning Iran in response to the missile test. Democratic senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) all told The Weekly Standard earlier this week that they were open to supporting such a move.
The missile test “is something we have to take very seriously and look at closely, and consider imposing additional sanctions in response to it,” said Coons, who voted in favor of the the Iran nuclear deal. “That Iran continues to engage in a ballistic missile program and tests in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, and in violation of our sanctions against that program, shows that they…continue to be a belligerent and dangerous country.”
And Rep. Eliot Engel, (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, stated in a public forum at the Capitol on Wedneseday that it was necessary to “hold Iran’s feet to the fire,” and that after the ballistic missile launches, “Iran needs to suffer consequences for their dangerous behavior.”
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