Iran angry after U.S. House extends sanctions

Senior Iranian officials threaten Washington after House passes bill renewing the sanctions on the Islamic Republic for 10 years.

Elad Benari,

Iranian flag
Iranian flag

Senior Iranian officials reacted angrily on Wednesday, after the American House of Representatives passed a bill renewing the sanctions on the Islamic Republic for 10 years.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday voted by an overwhelming majority of 419 to one for a 10-year reauthorization of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), a law first adopted in 1996 to punish investments in Iran's energy industry and deter Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The bill must be also be passed by the Senate before being signed into law by President Barack Obama.

In response, Iranian officials warned that they would take action if the U.S. renews the sanctions, saying that doing so goes against the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear agreement signed last year between Iran and six world powers.

“If you extend the sanctions, this will mean kicking the JCPOA away and we will confront it through implementing powerful technical packages,” said the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, according to PressTV.

He did not elaborate on what he meant by those comments.

“The Iranian nation is an independence-seeking one. They (U.S. leaders) cannot sit in glass palaces saying they would [either] tear up the JCPOA or renegotiate it,” added Shamkhani, an obvious reference to President-elect Donald Trump’s election promise to rip up the deal with Iran.

Yahya Rahim Safavi, a top military adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that if Washington annulled the JCPOA it would cost it dearly.

“Whoever becomes the president in the U.S. has to support the Zionists, but annulling the JCPOA will be a strategic mistake. If Trump seeks to annul the JCPOA, this will cost the U.S. dearly,” he threatened.

Trump has repeatedly spoken out against the nuclear deal with Iran, saying during the presidential campaign that the deal was “disastrous” and one of the worst agreements ever negotiated.

Iranian officials have downplayed Trump’s threats to annul the nuclear deal, insisting he cannot do so even if he wishes.

One of these officials was President Hassan Rouhani, who said a day after Trump was elected there was "no possibility" the President-elect would overturn the nuclear deal.