US Senators on Thursday voted 98-2 on a bill, which would give Congress the ability to block American Presdient Donald Trump from lifting the Russia sanctions. It also includes new penalties against Iran and North Korea.
Sens. Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders voted against the bill, with Sanders saying on Twitter that 'following Trump's comments that he won't recertify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement I worry new sanctions could endanger it.'
The move marks congressional Republicans' first significant rebuke of Trump's foreign policy, The Hill.com wrote.
The vote comes hours after a top White House official floated that Trump could potentially veto the legislation.
Communications director Anthony Scaramucci told CNN that 'he may sign the sanctions exactly the way they are, or he may veto the sanctions and negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians.'
But senators were quick to warn that vetoing a bill that passed the House 419-3 earlier this week would be a significant misstep for Trump. An earlier version of the bill, which did not include North Korea penalties, passed the Senate in a 98-2 vote.
It would also impose new sanctions in response to Iran’s basic missile program, and target North Korea’s shipping industry and people who use slave labor.
Meanwehile on July 26, Iran Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi said the US Congress, by imposing the non-nuclear sanctions, has turned a blind eye on the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and put at risk the successful implementation of the multilateral, international agreement.
He referred to the 'longstanding hostility' of the US Congress toward Iran, and said, 'Iran has acted in compliance with the deal, as acknowledged by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and G5+1.
'So we expect other parties of the deal to fulfill their commitments,' the Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Iran has reviewed the bill and found its content against the spirit and letter of the JCPOA, Qasemi said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said the new US Congress action is in violation of Washington's commitments and Tehran would certainly respond to it.
'The US measure by the Congress and the new law against Iran, Russia and North Korea is clearly a hostile action which would be responded by Iran, no doubt,' Araqchi added.
The new law which is being approved in Congress, is not a new sanction, rather it is a sum-up of the previous sanctions in non-nuclear issues, but it can affect implementation of JCPOA as well as Iran's benefits from the agreement, he affirmed.