Senate passes sweeping sanctions bill targeting Iran, Russia

Putin dismissed the proposed sanctions, saying they reflected an internal political struggle in the USA, and that Washington's policy of imposing sanctions on Moscow had always been to try to contain Russian Federation. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) told Politico in an interview.

The bill penalizes Moscow for interfering in the 2016 election by imposing sanctions on key sectors of Russia's economy, including mining, metals, shipping and railways.

The White House will reach out to House Republicans to bring changes favored by the Trump administration to legislation approved by the Senate this week that places tougher sanctions on Russian Federation, according to news reports Saturday.

Whether Trump wanted to actually lift Russian sanctions is a matter of dispute. This is what helped bring down former national security advisor Michael Flynn who supposedly talked about lifting sanctions with the Russian ambassador and failed to inform the vice president. Thursday's legislation punishes Iran for its ballistic missile testing and human rights violations, and applies terrorism sanctions to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The restrictions on President Trump to lift sanctions on Russian Federation grew out of a directive from the president his first week in office seeking a review of all sanctions imposed by the U.S. government. "We have some channels where we're starting to talk, but what I wouldn't want to do is close the channels off".

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The existing restrictions were put in place by President Barack Obama after Russian Federation annexed Crimea in 2014.

The lower House of Representatives must still approve the bill before it would reach Trump's desk. Dan Fried, who retired in February as coordinator for sanctions policy at the State Department, told Yahoo News that there was "serious consideration" by the Trump White House to "unilaterally rescind the sanctions".

Sanders said he voted against the larger bill because he said sanctioning Iran could harm the Iranian nuclear deal. Lawmakers of both parties stressed the measures in no way target Iran's nuclear program or the landmark worldwide nuclear accord with Tehran.

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.

"We see destabilizing act after destabilizing act [by Iran], from missile launches to arms transfers to terrorist training to illicit financial activities to targeting Navy ships and detaining American citizens", said the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Republican Bob Corker of Tennessee. "The debate we have here is on the non-nuclear activities of Iran that violate worldwide norms and global agreements".

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