Iranians upset by congressional approval for more sanctions

By Daniel Uria  |  Updated Dec. 3, 2016 at 4:52 PM
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TEHRAN, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the United States Congress' decision to pass legislation extending sanctions against the country indicated "unreliability."

Iran vowed to retaliate if a 10-year extension to the Iran Sanctions Act is signed by President Barack Obama after being passed this week by the House and the Senate, according to Tehran Times.

"To the world community, the extension of sanctions against Iran shows the unreliability of the American government," Zarif said.

The bill was passed in the Senate by a 99-0 vote on Thursday and passed in the House of Representatives 419-1.

Iranian officials including President Hassan Rouhani were angered by the extension, charging it violates the agreement struck between Iran and six other world powers, including the U.S., to curtail Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling international sanctions.

"The [nuclear accord] is the result of efforts by seven countries, and one country should not be allowed to weaken it," he said, according to Voice of America.

Zarif also said the move lacked "executive force" to block trade with India, China and Japan.

"It will have no effect as far as it is related to India, China and Japan, and for third countries the extension makes no difference," he said.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby and other congressional leaders argued the extension is not a breach of the nuclear deal.

"And while we don't think an extension is necessary, we've also been clear that a completely clean extension, as this one is, is entirely consistent with our commitments" to allies, Kirby said.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said the extension would give future presidents leverage to negotiate with Iran.

"Extending the Iran Sanctions Act ... ensures President-elect [Donald] Trump and his administration have the tools necessary to push back against the regime's hostile actions," he said.

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