On Tuesday, July 18, 2017, the Trump administration announced new sanctions against entities and individuals with ties to Iran. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) and U.S. Department of the Treasury have listed 18 entities and individuals to be sanctioned for supporting Iran’s military procurement for its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a powerful government security agency that is Iran’s most powerful economic actor and carries a strong influence over political decisions.
“The United States remains deeply concerned about Iran’s malign activities across the Middle East which undermine regional stability, security and prosperity,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
Two of the entities were added to the sanctions list by the State Department “for engaging, or attempting to engage, in activities or transactions that have materially contributed to, or pose a risk of materially contributing to, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery,” according to Nauert.
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control sanctioned 16 entities and individuals, including “an Iran-based transnational criminal organization and three associated persons,” along with companies and individuals tied to military technology procurement.
Similarly, on Saturday, July 22, 2017, the House and Senate reached a deal to add an amendment to the Iran sanctions bill for additional sanctions against Russia, while providing Congress with new veto power to block any easing of those sanctions. “I expect the House and Senate will act on this legislation promptly, on a broad bipartisan basis and send the bill to the President’s desk,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
The amendment would ensure that Congress has time to review any plans by Trump’s administration to relax, suspend or terminate sanctions that were imposed after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
The amendment would also add sanctions on Russians involved in human rights violations, those supplying weapons to the Syrian government and those conducting “malicious cyber activity on behalf of the Russian government.” A third part attempts to help countries in Central and Eastern Europe counter disinformation from Russia.
The sanctions bill’s aim is to “hold Russia and Iran accountable for their destabilizing actions around the world,” Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland said. “The legislation ensures that both the majority and minority are able to exercise our oversight role over the administration’s implementation of sanctions.”
The House version of the bill is set for a vote on Tuesday, July 25th, 2017.