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VIDEO: Blunt Backs Senate-Passed Iran & Russia Sanctions Bill

June 15, 2017

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) spoke on the Senate floor to urge support for legislation that would expand sanctions on Iran and Russia. The measure, which Blunt cosponsored, passed the Senate overwhelmingly today by a vote of 98-2. As Blunt noted in his remarks, Iran is the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism and continues violating international agreements with its ballistic missile tests and illegal arms transfers. The measure would provide Congress and the administration additional tools to hold the Iranian regime accountable. The bill also includes additional sanctions on individuals engaging in cyber activity on behalf of the Russian government and supplying weapons to the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria.

Following are key excerpts from Blunt’s Remarks:

“[T]he Obama administration said [Iran] was the number one sponsor of state terrorism in the world. It's a destabilizing force for its neighbors, and it's a destabilizing force for a more peaceful world. The Iranians provide financial and material support to groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, militias in Iraq, and a host of other terrorist groups. They have threatened to wipe out our closest ally in the Middle East, Israel. They said they’d wipe them off the map, and they continue to violate international restrictions by advancing their ballistic missile program. …

“Specifically, the bill directs the president to impose sanctions on any person who knowingly engages in any activity that materially contributes to the Iranian ballistic missile program activities or any other program for which a system to deliver a weapon of mass destruction is involved or any person who contributes to the transfer of certain arms to or from Iran. The bill also directs the Secretary of State to submit to the appropriate congressional committees a list of people the State Department has determined to be responsible for gross human rights violations against individuals who seek to promote human rights. The bill further provides that the president may block any property these human rights abusers have in the United States. This measure also addresses Iran's continued support for terrorism. …

“Despite the hopes that the previous administration had for moderation…Iran has increased its destructive activities since the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Strengthening sanctions on Iran is an appropriate response in Iran's continued aggression. Again, because these sanctions are directed only as actions outside of the nuclear sphere, the legislation in no way violates the letter or spirit of that agreement. The Iran sanctions regime is the best tool we have to hold Iran accountable and one that we should continue to keep at the forefront of our policy. …

The number-one sponsor of terrorism in the world deserves to be sanctioned. Individuals who are part of those activities deserve to be specifically sanctioned. This bill will do that.”

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