US to vote on 10-year renewal of Iran sanctions

The Iran Sanctions Act allows trade, energy, defense and banking industry sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program and ballistic missile tests

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The Republican leaders of the US House of Representatives plan a vote as soon as mid-November on a 10-year reauthorization of the Iran Sanctions Act, congressional aides told Reuters on Tuesday, setting up a potential showdown with the White House and Senate.

The Iran Sanctions Act, or ISA, which expires on Dec. 31, allows trade, energy, defense and banking industry sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program and ballistic missile tests. Its fate is one of the major pieces of unfinished business facing lawmakers when they return to Washington on Nov. 14 for the first time after the Nov. 8 elections.

US Representative Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is expected to introduce the 10-year renewal as soon as Congress gets back, aides said. Congressional aides said a “clean” renewal, meaning unchanged from the current legislation, was likely to pass the House. Its fate in the Senate was much less certain, and a White House spokesman would not say whether President Barack Obama would sign it into law.


Republicans control majorities in both the House and Senate, and every Republican in Congress opposed the international nuclear deal announced in July 2015, in which Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling economic sanctions.

Republicans have since tried repeatedly to pass legislation to clamp down on Iran, accusing Obama of being so eager to burnish his foreign policy legacy that he conceded too much to Tehran in the nuclear talks. Some Senate Republicans want more than a clean renewal of the ISA. They are trying to build support for legislation that would renew it but also do more to punish individual Iranians and businesses over the country’s ballistic missile tests and what they see as its support for terrorism.

“The Iran Sanctions Act was enacted to curb Tehran’s support for terrorism and its very dangerous weapons proliferation. It should remain in place until the regime stops exporting terror and threatening us and our allies with deadly weapons,” Royce said in a statement sent to Reuters. “That’s why I'll be introducing a bipartisan, long-term extension of these important sanctions,” he said.

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