A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House and the Senate on Monday introduced a bill that would make a law authorizing sanctions on Iran permanent.
The 1996 Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) gives the president the authority to impose sanctions on Iran and needs to be continuously renewed by Congress. The legislation introduced Monday, the Solidifying Iran Sanction Act, would get rid of the ISA’s sunset clause.
In the House, the bill was introduced by Rep. Michelle Steele (R-CA) and so far has 24 cosponsors, including 16 Republicans and 8 Democrats. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-CA), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is one of the cosponsors.
“This bill takes the long overdue step of striking the arbitrary sunset from the law, so that sanctions will only be lifted if Iran stops its threatening behavior. Iran can’t run out the clock on US law,” McCaul said.
The Senate’s version of the bill was led by Senators Tim Scott (R-SC), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Bill Hagerty (R- TN), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV).
The introduction of the legislation comes after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen acknowledged that US sanctions on Iran have caused a “real economic crisis” but haven’t changed the behavior of the government, meaning the sanctions are doing little but hurting ordinary Iranians.
History has shown that US sanctions do little to change the targeted government and always hurt civilians. In February, UN experts said that more Iranians are dying from thalassemia, a congenital blood disorder, due to Western sanctions that deprive them of specialized medicines and the ingredients to make them.