US lawmakers voted 419 to one for a 10-year reauthorization of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), which was initially adopted in 1996 on the unfounded ground that Tehran was pursuing a non-civilian nuclear program.
The ISA will expire at the end of 2016 if it is not renewed and the bill must be passed by the Senate before being signed by the US president into law.
Iranian officials warned the US against renewing the ban in light of the fact that Iran has had the sanctions lifted on the back of its 2015 nuclear accord with world powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani addressed US officials on Tuesday night in a strident tone.
“If you extend the sanctions, this will mean kicking the JCPOA away and we will confront it through implementing powerful technical packages,” he said, without elaboration.
The agreement was struck in July 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group comprising the US, France, China, Britain, Russia and Germany.
Addressing the pro-Israeli lobby group AIPAC back in March, US President-elect Donald Trump declared that his “number-one priority” would be to “dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.”
Back in July, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said, “We will not violate the JCPOA, but if the opposite side violates it – as US presidential candidates are currently threatening to tear up the JCPOA – if they tear up the JCPOA, we will burn it.”
Trump, himself, has conceded that it would be hard to destroy a deal enshrined in a United Nations resolution. In August 2015, he said he would not “rip up” the nuclear deal, but that he would “police that contract so tough they don’t have a chance.”
Shamkahni said, “The Iranian nation is an independence-seeking one. They (US leaders) cannot sit in glass palaces saying they would [either] tear up the JCPOA or renegotiate it.”
Yahya Rahim Safavi, a top military adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, also said if Washington annulled the JCPOA at Israel’s behest it would cost it dearly.
“Whoever becomes the president in the US, he will have to support the Zionists, but annulling the JCPOA will be a strategic mistake. If Trump seeks to annul the JCPOA, this will cost the US dearly,” he said.