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Senate Vote Is Scheduled For New Iran Sanctions

US Senate Majority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell
US Senate Majority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell

The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell has scheduled a vote for Wednesday, June 7, for the Iran Destabilizing Activities Act, which would mean new sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

There is broad bi-partisan support for the measure. After long negotiations the Foreign Relations Committee voted 18-3 last month to approve the measure for a final Senate vote. The legislation would expand sanctions targeting Iran's ballistic missile development, support for terrorism any transfer of weapons and human rights violations.

Former Secretary of State, John Kerry, who negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran, has been warning against imposing new sanctions, which he says could back Iran into a corner.

Kerry maintains that new sanctions on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program could send a message to the Iranian people that there is no gain for them in the 2015 nuclear deal. The landmark agreement eased economic sanctions in return for a freeze on Iranian nuclear development.

Kerry spoke Monday in San Francisco at a fundraiser for Ploughshares Fund, an organization that works to reduce the threats posed by nuclear weapons.

The result of the nuclear agreement has been mixed for ordinary Iranians. While the deal allowed Iran to resume oil exports and access to international banking, it has not led to much needed foreign investments. With low oil prices, the economy is not doing well. Unemployment and inflation have remained very high.

The Hill reports that the bill can become entangled with the issue of sanctions on Russia for its meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections. Senator Lindsay Graham (R. S.C.) has said that he might try to add Russia sanction to the Iran bill.

But The Hill also reports that the Senate might soon take up a Russia sanctions bill, which could reduce the chance of an entanglement with the Iran legislation.

Senator Bob Corker (R. Tenn) had a scheduled meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Monday night to determine if there has been any progress in negotiations with Russia over Syria. In case, the Senate feels there is need for further action, sanctions legislation on Russia would be on.