A bipartisan bill imposing new sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile program and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps overwhelmingly passed the Senate by a margin of 98-2 on Thursday.
The bill, which passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month by a vote of 18 to 3, imposed “new measures to punish Tehran for ballistic missile tests and the engagements of the country’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps,” The Washington Post reported.
The Senate also added an amendment to the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017, which will place new sanctions on Russia for its actions in Ukraine and Syria, as well as its alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The bill “is the first major piece of foreign policy legislation the Senate has considered this year to command so much support from both sides of the aisle,” the Post noted.
The House of Representatives has not yet considered this legislation or drafted a similar bill.
“It’s a much more powerful sanctions measure than merely just designating Iranian entities that are involved in missile development,” Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told CBS News. The bill seeks to target businesses and financial institutions that have commercial dealings with any entity designated by the U.S. for playing a role in Iran’s ballistic missile program.
“The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that if Iran were to deliver a nuclear device, the delivery vehicle for that nuclear device would be a missile — a long-range ballistic missile or intercontinental ballistic missile,” Dubowitz said, explaining the significance of targeting Iran’s ballistic missile program.
Overall, the bill “targets the regime’s Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) praetorians through powerful sanctions aimed at terror networks, the missile supply chain and domestic repression,” Dubowitz told Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post.
The 2015 nuclear deal includes watered down language concerning Iran’s ballistic missile program. Iran has often defied United Nations Security Council resolution 2231, which implemented the accord and called on Tehran to avoid testing ballistic missiles. Following an Iranian ballistic missile test in February, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on individuals involved in the program.
The IRGC has helped organize Shiite militias in Iraq, armed and trained Houthi rebels in Yemen, and boosted the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It has been implicated in war crimes and other violations of human rights in relation to these foreign activities.
[Photo: IRNA/Mostafa Qotb]