Rouhani Urges Obama to Block Iran Sanctions Law Extension

  • Trump election has boosted U.S. opponents of nuclear accord
  • Majority of Iran’s parliament call for reciprocal action

Iran urged Barack Obama to block a law that would extend the U.S. president’s authority to impose sanctions on the Islamic Republic, calling it a violation of the Iranian nuclear deal.

On Thursday, the Senate voted 99-0 to extend the Iran Sanctions Act, which authorizes a president to prevent investment in Iran’s energy sector and other sensitive industries. While Obama has waived most sanctions under the nuclear accord, congressional leaders said keeping them in reserve provides valuable leverage against Iran. White House spokesman Eric Schultz said the bill won’t interfere with the U.S.-led nuclear agreement and he expected the president to sign it.

Hassan Rouhani in parliament on Dec. 4.

Photographer: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images

“If this law is implemented it will be a blatant violation of the Iran deal and it will lead to our resolute answer,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told parliament on Sunday.

In response to the Senate vote, more than 260 members of Iran’s 290-seat parliament have called on Rouhani’s government to take unspecified reciprocal action against the U.S., Ahmad Amir-Abadi Farahani, a member of parliament’s presiding board, said in a statement cited by the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

Lawmakers interrupted Rouhani’s appearance in parliament, which was broadcast live on state television. Some briefly chanted “Death to America” when the president spoke about the Iran Sanctions Act and mentioned Obama, defying calls for calm from parliament speaker Ali Larijani.

The accord signed last year by Iran and six world powers including the U.S. curbed the Persian Gulf country’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions imposed over the work. While the agreement came into force on January, a number of other U.S. restrictions related to Iran’s missile development and its links to U.S.-designated terrorist groups remain in place.

The election of Donald Trump has reinvigorated Republican opposition to the accord, and last month the House of Representatives voted to block Boeing Co. from selling or leasing planes to Iran. The company agreed earlier this year to supply 109 aircraft to Iran in a deal worth as much $25 billion.

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