(CNSNews.com) – The House of Representatives on Tuesday voted 419-1 to reauthorize for another ten years Iran sanctions legislation due to expire at the end of the year – a move the Obama administration has sought to discourage.
“Now is not the time to ease up on the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism,” said Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) during consideration of legislation to extend the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA). Congress reconvened this week for a brief “lame duck” session.
The lone “no” vote came from the libertarian Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky.
Members argued that without the ISA, there will be no structure in place for sanctions to “snap back” in the event of Iranian violations of the controversial nuclear deal that came into effect last January.
“What if – and I would assert, when – Iran is found to be moving towards a bomb,” House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), “how will we respond to that?”
“The Obama administration has said that sanctions on Iran would ‘snap back’ were this to happen,” he said. But if the ISA is allowed to expire, “there’s nothing to ‘snap back’ to.”
The bottom line, said Royce, “if we let the clock run out on the Iran Sanctions Act, Congress will take away an important tool to keep Tehran in check, and that in turn will only further jeopardize America’s national security.”
Also voicing support for the legislation were Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and other members of both parties, including minority whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).
Engel said the reauthorization will “remind Iran’s leaders that we still have a lot of contentious issues to deal with, and signal to the world that after a hard-fought election here at home, American leadership on the global stage won’t falter.”
Enacted in 1996 (as the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act), the legislation imposed sanctions in response to Iran’s terror-sponsorship, ballistic missile development and its nuclear activities. It was reauthorized in 2006 and 2011, and is set to expire at the end of 2016.
When it implemented the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the administration waived nuclear-related sanctions. Those waivers would remain in place under a reauthorized ISA, but other sanctions relating to non-nuclear activities – ballistic missile launches, terror-sponsorship and rights abuses – would continue to be enforced.
At the same time, proponents say, the ISA would also keep intact the architecture to reimpose nuclear sanctions – the administration’s touted “snap back” provision – should Iran not comply with the nuclear deal. Keep reading