House Democrats refuse to back GOP’s Iran sanctions push

Senior Democrats in the US House of Representatives have united against a Republican push to pass multiple Iran sanctions bills being spearheaded by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, according to a report.

Republicans are pushing for legislation that would impose new sanctions on Iran over allegations of human rights violations. Two other bills would ban the purchase of Iranian “heavy water” and block the country’s access to US financial systems, the Foreign Policy magazine reported on Tuesday.

Democrats, including longtime hawks on Iran, have mounted a resistance effort to thwart the measures before the summer recess.

The effort is being led by Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel, Appropriations Committee ranking member Nita Lowey, and other senior lawmakers.

In a letter to McCarthy obtained by Foreign Policy, the Democratic opponents accused the majority leader of circumventing the minority by introducing legislation the party cannot support in its current form.

“Introducing a bill in the dead of night, without consultation with the minority, unfortunately turns what should be a bipartisan effort into an exercise in election-year politics,” the authors wrote.

Lawmakers are set to vote on the legislation this week.

US House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (2nd L) arrives at a House Republican Conference meeting on June 22, 2016, at the Capitol in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

Republicans, who are in control of both the House and Senate, strongly opposed the nuclear agreement signed last July between Iran and the P5+1 group – the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.

President Barack Obama would veto the Republican-backed legislation, a senior State Department official said on Tuesday.

In the letter to McCarthy, however, the Democrats said they would work with Republicans to pass bipartisan legislation introducing new sanctions on Iran over its missile program, and extend the Iran Sanctions Act, which is set to expire in December.

A number of the signatories, including Engel and Lowey, voted against the Iran deal last year.

Under the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program and provide enhanced access to international atomic monitors in return for the termination of all nuclear-related sanctions.

By Press TV