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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Iran sanctions bill goes into law without Obama's signature

Iran sanctions bill goes into law without Obama's signature
By Harper Neidig - 12-15-16 07:12 AM EST

A bill extending sanctions on Iran for a decade will go into law without President Obama's signature.

"This Administration has made clear that an extension of the Iran Sanctions Act, while unnecessary, is entirely consistent with our commitments in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement early Thursday.

"Consistent with this longstanding position, the extension of the Iran Sanctions Act is becoming law without the President's signature."

After the Iran Sanctions Extension Act had passed the Senate 99-0 earlier this month, the White House had indicated that the president would sign the bill after some speculation that he might veto it.

But no signature came as the deadline passed at midnight on Wednesday.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, has said that the extension would violate the nuclear agreement reached last year.

"Iran has proved that it sticks to its international agreements, but it also has appropriate responses for all situations," said Bahram Ghasemi, a spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, earlier this month. "The extension of sanctions by the U.S. Congress is a violation of the deal."

"If they implement the [Iran Sanctions Act], Iran will take action accordingly," Iran's nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, said.

U.S. officials have denied allegations that the bill violates terms of the agreement, arguing that it is necessary as a backstop so that sanctions can "snap back" in case Iran violates its obligations.

President-elect Donald Trump has strongly criticized the nuclear deal with Iran and has vowed to renegotiate it.

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