US Senate expected to pass Russia-Iran sanctions bill ‘in short order’

Sputnik – The US Senate is expected to pass a bill to slap sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea in “short order,” Senator Mark Warner said on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US House of Representatives approved by a 419-3 voteon Tuesday a new version of a bill that would impose sweeping sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, and limit President Donald Trump’s ability to lift the restrictions on Moscow. The measures target Russia’s defense, intelligence, mining, shipping and railway industries, and restrict dealings with Russian banks and energy companies. The proposed bill also considers Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project as a threat to Ukraine’s and the European Union’s energy security.

The version of the bill passed on Tuesday was newly introduced in the House of Representatives last week.

“I expect this bill will pass the Senate in short order. At that point, it is incumbent upon President [Donald] Trump to immediately sign this legislation into law, or risk endorsing Moscow’s interference in future elections,” Warner said in a statement.

Warner said the bill “sends a message to the Kremlin that attacks on our democracy will not be tolerated.”

The senator was referring to allegations that Russia interfered in the 2016 US election, an accusation that the Kremlin strongly denies.

Earlier in the day, France and Germany spoke out against the bill as one that adversely affects European industries while advancing US commercial interests.

In April, Gazprom’s subsidiary Nord Stream 2 AG signed a deal with French Engie, UK’s Royal Dutch Shell, Austria’s OMV and Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall, which agreed to provide part of long-term financing of the gas pipeline project, estimated at 9.5 billion euros ($10.6 billion).

The Nord Stream 2 project presumes the construction of two gas pipelines with a combined annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas. The new pipeline is planned to be laid along the existing Nord Stream pipeline route from the Russian coast through the Baltic Sea, on to a hub in Germany.