Published: Fri, June 16, 2017
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Senate Republicans, Democrats Agree on New Russia Sanctions

In a rare moment of bipartisan unity, the Senate voted 97 to two to approve the sanctions, with only Republicans Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky voting against.

The US Senate in Congress has voted almost unanimously to impose new sanctions against Iran and Russian Federation, setting up a possible confrontation with the administration of President Donald Trump as it attempts to improve relations with Moscow, PressTV reported.

Then-President Barack Obama in late December ordered sanctions on Russian spy agencies, closed two Russian compounds and expelled 35 diplomats the USA said were really spies.

"I would imagine that they will sign this piece of legislation", Corker told reporters, noting his staff had been in touch with the State Department throughout the negotiations. "The trajectory did not change".

"I didn't think they were hostile.We think that we'll satisfy what he needs, but we'll see", he said.

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"We do project ourselves strongly into this issue, Congress does, the Senate does, but we also left flexibilities for them to be able to manage foreign policy", he said. Senators say the review provision restores Congress' role in setting sanctions policy.

Senators on both sides of the aisle have been similarly resolute. The bill seeks to target businesses and financial institutions that have commercial dealings with any entity designated by the US for playing a role in Iran's ballistic missile program.

But administration officials have appeared more cautious about stifling the Kremlin with tough rhetoric and sanctions.

Ahead of the June 14 vote, the measure had been met with warnings of retaliation from Moscow, as well as pleas for patience from U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The U.S. called on Russian Federation to release "peaceful" protesters arrested Monday.

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It would impose new sanctions on Russians found to be guilty of human rights abuses, supplying weapons to Syria's government and conduct cyber attacks on behalf of Russia's government, among others.

The legislation sets up a review process that would require Trump to get Congress' approval before taking any action to ease, suspend or lift any sanctions on Russian Federation.

Tillerson has said Trump tasked him with a "re-engagement process with Russian Federation", including greater cooperation in Syria and deputy-level meetings to deal with "irritants" in the relationship.

While acknowledging the necessity to hold Russian Federation accountable for its alleged meddling in US elections, Tillerson also emphasized the importance of a "constructive dialogue" with Russian Federation.

The Obama administration expanded sanctions in December 2016, after accusing the Russian government of meddling in USA elections and harassing American diplomats.

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SC senator Lindsey Graham has predicted that Trump would ultimately sign the bill - but warned that if he did not, Congress would override his veto.

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