TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran’s top security official Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani warned the White House to block renewed efforts by the US house majority to reimpose sanctions against Tehran under a new pretext following the implementation of the recent nuclear agreement.
“After their failure in the Senate, the Republicans along with the Zionist lobby have normally been seeking to make up for their defeat, but any kind of sanction that would lead to the revival of pressures on Iran would naturally receive a decisive response from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), told reporters in Tehran on Saturday.
His remarks came as Republicans have vowed to leave no stone unturned to keep or re-impose sanctions against Iran.
Opponents of the Iran nuclear accord have lost the debate in Congress, but are not ready to admit it.
The morning after Senate Democrats blocked a vote that attempted to reject the agreement, effectively ending any possibility that Congress could kill the deal, House Republicans convened their own votes.
“Our fight to stop this bad deal, frankly, is just beginning,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Friday morning, just before the votes. “Never in our history has something with so many consequences for our national security been rammed through with such little support.”
The first House vote was on a resolution to approve the Iran deal, and predictably failed, 162 to 269. Every Republican voted against it, with the exception of Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), who voted “present.” The approval resolution was not intended to pass, but, rather, to send a message that the nuclear accord does not have majority backing in the House.
The lower chamber then passed a resolution to disapprove of the deal and remove the president’s ability to waive sanctions. The resolution passed 247 to 186, with all but two Democrats opposing it. Again, the vote served only as a messaging tool and had no legal impact, since Senate Democrats had already blocked a similar vote on Thursday night.
Under the terms of the nuclear deal reached in July between Iran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members – the US, Britain, France, Russia and China – plus Germany), President Barack Obama’s administration will terminate the sanctions against Iran in exchange for a curb on Tehran’s nuclear activities for a ten-year period.
Though Friday’s House votes cannot impede the president from implementing the deal, opponents of the agreement touted the votes as a victory, pointing out that bipartisan majorities in both chambers have rejected the accord.
Now that the House has passed a resolution of disapproval, opponents of the deal in the Senate have until Sept. 17 — the end of Congress’ two-month review period — to try and push such a resolution through their chamber, even though it has already been defeated once. If they succeed, the measure would go to the White House where the president will veto it. (There are enough pro-deal Democrats in both houses of Congress to sustain the veto.) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) rescheduled a duplicate vote for Tuesday, presumably hoping at least two Democrats would have a change of heart, which would give him the votes he needs.
But Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) appeared unconcerned that anyone in his party would switch their vote. “It would be a dumb thing for someone to do, and I have a bunch of smart senators,” he said bluntly Thursday night.
Yet, the Republicans have warned that they would re-impose the same sanctions on Iran on other pretexts, including terrorism, if all their efforts to block the nuclear agreement fail.