WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- The Iran Sanctions Act became law despite President Barack Obama's decision not to sign the bill.
The act, which renews existing sanctions against Iran for 10 years, became law Wednesday because under the Constitution the president has 10 days after Congress passes legislation to sign a law, veto it or do nothing. The bill automatically becomes law if the president takes no action.
The House passed the extension last month by 419 to 1, and the Senate approved it on Dec. 1.
Congressional leaders said they sought to extend the Iran Sanctions Act to send a signal that the United States, under any president, could revert to sanctions against Iran if necessary. Obama's decision not to sign the bill is an apparent effort to calm Iranian fears that Washington is reversing its view of the nuclear agreement signed in 2015 by Iran, the United States, France, Germany, China, Russia and the United Kingdom.
"This administration has made clear that an extension of the Iran Sanctions Act, while unnecessary, is entirely consistent with our commitments in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday, a reference to the suspension of Iran's nuclear program. "Consistent with this longstanding position, the extension of the Iran Sanctions Act is becoming law without the president's signature."
The Iranian government has said renewal of the sanctions by the United States was unnecessary and a violation of the deal between Iran and the world powers. On Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said approval of the sanctions act amounted to a breach of the deal.