The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to approve a sanctions bill focused at Russia, Iran, and North Korea. It passed through that body with an overwhelming majority. Today, in a 98 to 2 vote, the sanctions bill was passed by the U.S. Senate.
One of the main pieces of this legislation included the singling out of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), designating it as a terrorist organization. This designation could have severe economic impacts not only on the IRGC, but the regime as a whole, since the IRGC is a large part of the Iranian economy, as well as its military arm of repression at home and abroad.
“This bill has taken passion, tenacity and all of us working together to bring out the best in this body,” said Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker on the Senate floor before the bill’s final passage.
The bill includes language that would give the sanctions Congressional oversight, which was language that the White House had resisted. The larger issue of contention with the White House is the Russian sanctions, which run contrary to President Trump’s diplomatic intentions. However, President Trump has been vocal in his determination to stand up to the Iranian regime throughout his campaign and presidency.
“I remind my colleagues that what gave use the vehicle to consider Russia and North Korea, was the Countering Iran Act…When we started with Iran, there were some that only wanted to look at it from the frame of ballistic missile violations,” said Senator Bob Menendez. He noted that with a lot of hard work, the bill was much broader against Iran’s leadership.
“We want to preserve the international peace and order that has been created since World War II,” said Menendez.
“We are all ready to speak to what Russia has done to our country and to others, to speak to what Iran is doing outside of the nuclear agreement, and speak to what North Korea continues to do…It has been my goal for Congress to be more relevant, to garner back those powers we have given to the Executive Branch for decades,” said Corker. He noted that congressional review is key to building toward that goal.
The focus of the bill was to send a strong message to these countries and their leadership that their actions will not be tolerated by the international community, particularly the United States. Many of those who are part of the Iranian resistance, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), applauded this effort, but called for additional actions against the IRGC, including driving them out of the Middle East all together.