US House supports new sanctions on Iran’s missile program

Congress voted in favor of increasing pressure on Iran through new sanctions, while Iran predictably threatened countermeasures. 

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday voted in favor of a sanctions package that imposes mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran’s illicit ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them.

The measure applies terrorism sanctions to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and enforces an arms embargo.

The sanctions target 18 entities and people supporting Iran’s ballistic missile program and Iran’s military procurement or the IRGC, as well as an “Iran-based transnational criminal organization and associated persons.”

Lawmakers passed the legislation in a 419-3 vote, clearing the measure for action by the Senate. If senators move quickly, the bill could be ready for President Donald Trump’s signature before Congress exits Washington for its regular August recess.

The Senate, like the House, is expected to pass the legislation by a veto-proof margin.

Democrats said the new sanctions on Iran don’t conflict with the Iran nuclear deal.

The new sanctions on Iran are an effort to put additional pressure on Tehran and its developing missile and weapons programs, while seeking to keep in place the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and several world powers.

Iran Threatens Retaliation

In recent years, Iran has made significant headway in manufacturing a broad range of military equipment, including long-range missiles that can carry a nuclear payload.

Tehran has repeatedly claimed that its military capacity is “defensive in nature” and poses no threat to other countries. However, Israel believes Iran’s weapons are an existential threat.

Responding to the vote, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani threatened to respond if the legislation becomes law.

Without providing details, Rouhani said in a Wednesday cabinet meeting that Iran will “take any action that is necessary for the country’s expedience and interests.”

He added that Iran will improve its “defensive means without attention to others.”

By: AP and World Israel News Staff