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Senate Votes Up Anti-Russia Sanctions

June 15, 2017 (EIRNS)—Yesterday, the U.S. Senate voted 97-2 in favor of an amendment to pending Iran sanctions legislation that not only will codify sanctions on Russia that were imposed by President Obama before he left office, but also imposes new sanctions. The Administration obviously opposes it.

As described by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Id.) on the floor of the Senate on June 13, aside from codifying existing sanctions, the amendment also attacks Russian economic activities in gas and oil production, railway, shipping and metals and mining. It also imposes secondary sanctions on foreign entities doing business with certain Russian energy projects, to include foreign financial institutions that facilitate those activities. It sanctions Russian government officials, their relatives and close associates deemed to be responsible for "significant corruption" in Russia and elsewhere, and those who who work for or on behalf of the Russian defense and intelligence sectors, those who invest or support the construction of Russian energy export pipelines, and corrupt government officials who enrich themselves after making deals to privatize state-owned assets.

Finally, it provides that no sanctions can be lifted by the President without Congressional review. The amendment provides for an expedited process by which Congress can have hearings and then a vote on whether or not the reject the President’s proposed lifting of any or all of the sanctions. During that process, the sanctions will remain in place unless the Congress votes in agreement with the President.

The Senate voted 98 to 2, today, to pass the underlying Iran sanctions legislation as amended. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives.