US House votes overwhelmingly in favour of Iran, Russia sanctions

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Bill sanctions Iranians involved in ballistic missile programme, Iran's Revolutionary Guard and those who committed human rights abuses

US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to slap new sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea (AFP)
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Wednesday 26 July 2017 8:48 UTC
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The US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to slap new sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea, despite President Donald Trump's objections to the legislation.

The bill adds sanctions to anyone involved in Iran’s ballistic missile programme, including those who “manufacture, acquire, possess, develop, transport, transfer, or use such capabilities”.

It also places sanctions on anyone involved or affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which the US alleges “is the primary arm of the Government of Iran for executing its policy of supporting terrorist and insurgent groups”.

In addition, the bill gives the US secretary of state the power to compile for sanctions a list of Iranian individuals who have committed human rights abuses.

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The sanctions bill, passed 419 votes to 3 in the House, must also pass the Senate before it can be sent to the White House for Trump to sign into law or veto.

The bill coincided with lawmakers taking steps to show they are willing to push hard as they investigate possible meddling by Russia in the 2016 presidential election and potential collusion by Trump's election campaign.

The Trump administration has objected to a provision that would oblige the president to obtain congressional approval before easing any sanctions on Moscow.

The Senate Judiciary Committee said on Tuesday it wanted Paul Manafort, a former campaign manager for Trump, to appear at a hearing as part of its investigation.

Also on Tuesday, Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, spent three hours with the House of Representatives intelligence panel, his second straight day on Capitol Hill answering questions about his contacts with Russians during the campaign.

Moscow has denied it worked to influence the election in the Republican candidate's favour, and Trump has denied his campaign colluded.

The bill, which had the support of both Republicans and Democrats in the House, aims to punish Russia for its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and over conclusions by US intelligence agencies that it interfered in the US election.

Meanwhile, a US Navy ship fired warning shots at an Iranian vessel in the Gulf on Tuesday.

According to a BBC report, a US defence official said the Iranian ship came within 137 metres of the Navy vessel and ignored radio calls.