Despite Iranian complaints and administration arguments that the move is unnecessary, the U.S. Senate on Thursday approved legislation extending the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) for another ten years – by a vote of 99-0.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont did not vote.
The Iran Sanctions Extension Act, which passed in the House in a 419-1 vote a fortnight ago, now goes to President Obama’s desk.
Unlike other pending Iran-related legislation, the White House has not indicated that Obama would veto the bill – the scale of support indicates a veto would be overridden in any case.
But administration officials, concerned about how Iran would react and the potential impact on smooth implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, have argued that ISA extension is unnecessary, arguing that the administration already has the necessary authorities to extend existing sanctions on Iran, or impose additional ones.
“Having the ISA in place or not is not necessary for ‘snapping back,’” Stephen Mull, the ambassador responsible for overseeing implementation of the nuclear deal, told senators in May, using the term coined by the administration to describe how quickly and easily sanctions could be reimposed if Iran cheats.
“We have sufficient authority through various executive orders,” he added.
Thursday’s vote came two days after Secretary of State John Kerry, during closed-door discussions with Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill, advised against extending the ISA, according to a report in Al-Monitor.