US lawmakers this week will consider three Republican-backed measures targeting the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran, which bitterly divides Washington a year after it was announced and could play a role in November’s elections.
One bill would impose new sanctions on Iran over any sponsorship of terrorism or human rights violations. Another would bar the purchase from Iran of “heavy water,” a non-radioactive byproduct from making nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. The third would block Iran’s access to the US financial system, including the use of the dollar.
Republican lawmakers, who control the House of Representatives and Senate and unanimously opposed the nuclear deal announced last July 14, have said the measures are necessary to send Iran a strong message that it will face consequences if it violates international agreements.
Many, joined by several Democrats, have been especially concerned by Iran’s actions since the deal was officially implemented in January, including its test-firing of ballistic missiles in March.
“It makes sense to do all we can to check this very dangerous Iranian activity,” Republican Representative Ed Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Rules Committee, which sets up rules for debate of bills headed to the House floor.