US Congress Wants More Iran Sanctions, But Can’t Settle on a Proposal

Senators Offer Several Competing Bills

With the US already under increasing international pressure for not lifting the sanctions it was obliged to under the P5+1 nuclear deal, there appears to be growing consensus in Congress, at least in theory, that they want to impose even more sanctions on Iran.

That’s going to come in the form of the extension of the Iran Sanctions Act, with myriad proposals on inflicting new sanctions on Iran to punish them for development of conventional ballistic missiles, the new US hawk talking point since the nuclear deal spoiled their old claims of Iran seeking nuclear weapons.

Despite near unanimity in Congress about the idea of new sanctions, materially no progress is being made on the matter, with the various proposals all sitting in committee while even more proposals are drawn up, with every major Senator desperate to get his own stamp on the effort.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R – KY) indicated that he will only discuss a bill he feels is virtually assured of a veto-proof majority, as the White House has raised the prospect of vetoing the extension if it includes language that hampers the US implementation of the nuclear deal.

For many in the Senate, violating the nuclear deal is very much the point of the new bill, even if it is couched as something to do with ballistic missiles, but so long as there are so many competing bills, it may be difficult for any one version to get enough backing for the veto-proof majority.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.