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Republicans introduce bill opposing lifting Iran sanctions

US lawmakers say Biden must maintain sanctions until Iran 'ends its support for violence and terror around the region'
The resolution was led by Tom Cotton in the Senate, and co-sponsored by 25 other senators.
The resolution led by Tom Cotton in the Senate was co-sponsored by 25 other senators (AFP)
By MEE staff in Washington

Republican Senator Tom Cotton and more than 40 other lawmakers have introduced bicameral legislation that opposes the lifting of sanctions on Iran, highlighting partisan disapproval of President Joe Biden's calls to return to the 2015 nuclear deal.

The resolution, which was led by Cotton in the Senate and Congressman Mike Gallagher in the House, "rejects and opposes the reapplication of sanctions relief, including the use of waivers, de-listing individuals or entities".

It also opposes reversing the finding that Iran is a jurisdiction of "primary money laundering" and reversing a ban that keeps Iran from accessing the US financial system.

In addition to being led by Cotton and Gallagher, it was co-sponsored by 25 Republican senators, and 19 Republican members of the House of Representatives.

"The United States must maintain sanctions on the Iranian regime until it abandons its nuclear ambitions and ends its support for violence and terror around the region," the bill's sponsors said in a statement on Thursday.

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"Iran took advantage of weak policies during the Obama Administration, and President Biden must not repeat those same mistakes."

The bill, however, is unlikely to pass, with a Democrat majority in both houses.

The introduction of the resolution comes as Biden has said he would seek a return to the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), if Tehran also restores its compliance with the pact.

The agreement, which former President Donald Trump backed out of in 2018, saw Iran scale back its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of heavy sanctions against its economy.

After departing from the accord, Trump reimposed comprehensive sanctions on Tehran.

Washington and Tehran are currently at an impasse, with the Biden administration wanting Iran to fully adhere to the agreement before sanctions are lifted, and Tehran arguing that Washington must comply with the deal first - as it was the party which left the pact.

Earlier this month, more than 100 Democratic and Republican House lawmakers sent a letter to Biden calling on the president to hold the Iranian government accountable for human rights violations and its alleged destabilising activities in the Middle East.

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