WH to Ramp Up Pressure on Iran Without Congress
Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin on Thursday promised to increase economic pressure on Iran as the advancement of the new Russia-Iran sanctions bill – recently passed by the U.S. Senate – has been delayed over partisan disagreements in the House of Representatives.
“We have sanctions on Iran already. We will continue to put sanctions on Iran around their ballistic missile and other programs,” Mnuchin said at the White House daily press briefing. “You have seen we have used sanctions in other areas. We will continue to use these. So notwithstanding anything Congress passes, I can assure you, this administration and the Treasury Department will use sanctions to the maximum amount available by law.”
The legislation targets Tehran for its support of terrorist organizations across the Middle East including Hezbollah along with Iran’s ballistic missile program. The Republican leadership has been holding up the bill over a constitutional requirement that all bills raising revenue for the government must originate in the House. Some Democrats, however, have accused the Republicans of holding up the legislation because it also imposes additional sanctions on Russia and since it ties President Trump’s hands on sanctions relief.
“We don’t need Congress to tell us to put more (sanctions). We are going to put more whether they tell us or not,” said Mnuchin.