Senate unanimously passes budget amendment to impose Iran sanctions

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — The Senate unanimously passed a budget amendment to impose sanctions on Iran.

The amendment, which passed 100-0 last week, calls for immediately reimposing waived sanctions and imposing new ones if Iran violates the interim nuclear deal or a final agreement.

Sponsored by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the amendment, the amendment draws language directly from a bill Kirk co-sponsored with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015, which would add new sanctions on Iran should it walk away from nuclear negotiations underway with the major powers.

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“By passing the bipartisan Kirk-Brown amendment to impose sanctions on Iran, the Senate voted for the security of the United States and Israel and against making dangerous nuclear concessions to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei,” Kirk said in a statement.

Iran and the world powers on Sunday continued negotiations aimed at reaching a deal on curbing Iran’s nuclear program, aiming for a March 31 deadline to conclude an agreement.

The amendment vote was part of a slew of amendments appended to the congressional budget for the federal government’s fiscal year 2016, a yearly occurrence as any amendment can be added to the budget bill as long as it does not increase the federal deficit.

Also passed by the Senate last week by a vote of 99-0 was an amendment submitted by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) that would permit the cutting of funding to the United Nations or other international organizations that take “unfair or discriminatory action against Israel.”

Another of the numerous Middle East-related amendments appended to the budget bill was one by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) that prevents taxpayer funding of congressional letters to the government of Iran, a dig at a letter sent earlier this month by 47 Republican senators to Iranian officials warning that any nuclear agreement signed with President Barack Obama could end when he leaves office.