A bipartisan group of U.S. senators today introduced a bill that would impose tighter U.S. sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile program and other non-nuclear activities, Reuters reports. The bill – which was sponsored by 14 senators including senior members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – would sanction any individual or entity linked with Iran’s ballistic missile program and those who would trade with them. It would also impose sanctions on the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.). Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, a co-author of the legislation, told Reuters the new bill would not interfere with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. "We assiduously worked to make sure that no provisions actually affect the agreement as it is," he emphasized.
Comment: The bill, if approved and passed into law, will strain an already tense relationship between Tehran and Washington. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action does not prohibit the United States from imposing sanctions on Iran related to the country’s ballistic missile program, support for terrorism, and human rights abuses. The legislation, however, may still complicate the implementation of the nuclear accord as Tehran’s interpretation of it will be different. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif earlier this week warned that his government was “completely ready” to restart its nuclear program if the continuation of the nuclear did not serve Iran’s interests. “If America reneges on the deal to the level that the continuation of the J.C.P.O.A. harms our national interests, the Islamic Republic of Iran is completely ready to return to the pre-J.C.P.O.A. situation and will be even stronger,” he was quoted by the state-controlled Islamic Republic News Agency on Monday.