November 17, 2016
Written by Lorra B.
A bill to renew an Iran sanctions law and go after supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government has been approved by the House on Tuesday.
The bill calls for punishing those who financially back the Syrian government and “maintaining economic pressure on Tehran,” according to Associated Press.
The violence in Syria is in it’s sixth year and has seen almost 500,000 people killed. This has contributed to “Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II and given the Islamic State group room to grow into a global terror threat.” The Assad government now stands accused of war crimes.
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Eliot Engel, stated, “What we have now is a grim lesson in human suffering. We can see the ethnic cleansing going on. Even the United Nations calls this ‘crimes of historic proportions.’ Enough’s enough.”
The bill would sanction countries like Russia and Iran that provide funding or do business with the Syrian government.
“Anyone that provides aircraft to Syria’s commercial airlines, does business with the transportation and telecom sectors controlled by the Syrian government, or supports the country’s energy industry also would be subject to sanctions, according to the legislation.”
Last month, Secretary of State John Kerry wanted an investigation into Russia and Syria for war crimes, “a move that escalated already heated rhetoric against Moscow for its part in a deadly military offensive in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, and its longstanding support of Assad,” reports AP.
In 2014 a Syria defector testified before the Foreign Affairs Committee that he bore witness to a ‘genocidal massacre’ of over 10,000. He is said to have images of the slaughter.
Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J, stated, “Sanctions work. Now is not the time to ease up on the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.”
President Barack Obama, according to Kerry, will sign the renewal bill. If approved the bill, which first passed Congress in 1996, will extend the law to 2026. If it is not signed it will expire come years’ end.
Should the bill be extended, the U.S. will be allowed to punish Iran if they fail to live up to the terms of last year’s Iran Nuclear Deal.
Should Tehran agree to rolling back its nuclear program, the U.S. and other world powers agreed to suspend wide-ranging oil, trade and financial sanctions that had choked the Iranian economy.”
The House cleared the Iran Sanctions Extensions Act by a vote of 419-1.
The only Congressional ‘No’ vote on the bill came from Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky.
Written by Lorra B.