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Sanctions targeting Iran, Russia pass US Senate

18 Juin 2017

The only senators who voted against the measure were Republicans Rand Paul and Mike Lee. Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown told Politico he had heard the White House was moving forward with attempts to "slow it, block it", while Sen.

The administration official emphasized that the White House supports sanctions on Russian Federation and that the political ramifications of any veto have not been discussed yet.

The Trump administration is "committed to existing sanctions" and won't take a position on the Senate legislation, S. 722, until the House acts, spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters at the White House.

The White House stressed that it is committed to the existing Russian sanctions regime that it believes is best suited to address USA concerns and would keep sanctions in place until Russia resolves the situation in Ukraine. Asked if they felt handcuffed by the Senate actions, Sanders demurred, saying that because the process was still ongoing, there was no final product to weigh in on.

The investigation into Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 United States election took another turn, as the Washington Post reported Wednesday that Donald Trump is being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller for possible obstruction of justice.

President Donald Trump campaigned on easing tensions with Russian Federation, arguing that it would be in America's best interest to try warming relations with Vladimir Putin.

In a state-television interview which aired Saturday, Russian president Vladimir Putin said that the proposed sanctions were "harmful" and would "complicate Russia-American relations".

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had encouraged the Senate to hold off on more sanctions, saying that he'd like more time to try and work diplomacy with Russian Federation.

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At the same time, he also said he doesn't want to preemptively shut down a potentially productive conversation.

Asked where Tillerson stood on the legislation, Corker said he wasn't sure, but noted that the bill "strikes a great balance" between executive and legislative power.

But the Senate moved forward anyway.

The Iran bill, including the Russian Federation sanctions amendment, was expected to pass the Senate on Thursday or later on Wednesday.

The package would impose new restrictions on Russian actors linked to human-rights abuses, arms sales to the Syrian government or malicious cyberattacks on behalf of the Russian government. Before passing the combined Russia-Iran measure, the chamber also attached a bipartisan amendment signaling support for NATO's Article 5 - which Trump earlier this month notably declined to endorse in Brussels - by a unanimous vote.

Senator Chuck Schumer (Democrat-New York) said, "Any idea of the president's that he can lift sanctions on his own for whatever reason are dashed by this legislation".

The batch of sanctions would be added to a bill imposing penalties on Iran that the Senate is now debating. One senator, Democratic Sen.

Trump announced at a news conference last week that he would support Article 5 after he failed to mention it in a speech at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters last month. While Trump recently said he, too, supports North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, he failed to do so at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in Brussels, worrying the alliance's supporters and members.