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Sen. Cardin demands renewal of anti-Iran sanctions

US Democratic Senator Ben Cardin has pledged to get Congress to renew sanctions against Iran before the end of the year.

The pro-Israeli lawmaker on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has told Jewish media that there is a general agreement to extend sanctions against Iran before they expire in December 2016.

“There’s general agreement we have to extend the sanctions against Iran, and we need to do it before they expire at the end of this year,” Cardin told Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) in a recent interview.

Cardin said he could get Democrats behind a simple reauthorization of sanctions, adding they are needed to remain in effect.

“Speaking as the ranking Democrat on the committee, and on behalf of the Democrats, we could get it done quickly if we were to just do that part,” he said, meaning a simple reauthorization of the sanctions, aka Iran Sanctions Act, which were passed in 1996 and reauthorized in 2006. The sanctions must be renewed every 10 years.

Last month, Cardin toured Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, where he met with authorities expressing ‘concern’ over Iran’s growing influence in the region.

At the beginning of this year, US President Barack Obama signed an executive order, lifting the US economic sanctions on Iran after Tehran proved it had fulfilled its commitments undertaken in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – Iran’s nuclear agreement with the permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany (P5+1) signed last July.

Last month, a group of US Republican senators also introduced legislation to impose new sanctions against Iran over what legislators have described as Tehran’s “support for terrorism and human rights violations.”

With the ‘Iran Sanctions Act’ expiring at the end of this year, GOP senators are making every effort to reauthorize and impose more sanctions on Tehran on the pretext of terrorism, human rights issues, and ballistic missile tests.

Several Republican senators including Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have signed the new bill, dubbed the “Iran Terrorism and Human Rights Sanctions Act of 2016.”


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