US Senate votes unanimously to extend Iran sanctions

The extension of sanctions passed on Thursday now goes to the White House for U.S. President Barack Obama to sign into law.

"I would expect the president to sign this piece of legislation", White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters on December 2.

Iran has vowed to retaliate against the ISA extension, passed unanimously on Thursday, saying it violated last year's agreement with six major powers to curb its nuclear program in return for lifting of global financial sanctions.

That nuclear agreement included a tit-for-tat agreement that had Iran scale back its nuclear program in exchange for the six other parties lifting sanctions on Iran's banking and energy sectors.

With Washington keeping its hold on the sanctions noose, the president of oil-rich Iran said foreign investors were moving into its economy.

The Iran Sanctions Extension Act extends the capability for the impose sanctions against Iran through the year 2026 if Iran is found to be in violation of the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Ghasemi added Iran is "carefully monitoring the USA behavior in that regard" and that the ministry will "present a complete report to the supervisory committee on implementation of the nuclear accord in order to make a decision and take appropriate measures".

"These are the very sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table, and their extension is a key element in holding Iran accountable", said Sen. The forthcoming president had said during his election campaign that he would annul the nuclear agreement. United States sanctions, while not necessarily prohibiting non-US companies and financial institutions from working with Iran, raise the cost and risk of doing business with the Islamic republic.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said recently the extension would breach the agreement and threatened retaliation.

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, France, Britain, China and Russian Federation - plus Germany started to implement the JCPOA on January 16.

Ben Cardin, D-Md. - the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee - said renewing the law is necessary in order to retain a "credible deterrent" if Iran dodges its responsibilities.

Lawmakers argue the sanctions extension is needed as a failsafe in case Iran breaks its commitment under the landmark pact reached previous year. Before the ink was dry on his risky nuclear deal, the rogue nation test-fired ballistic missiles and accumulated excess heavy water, which could be used for making plutonium bombs.

However, several world powers signed on to the deal and have showed no signs of backing away.



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