U.S. Lawmakers Push for Tighter Bipartisan Sanctions on Iran

Democratic co-sponsor of new bill says it's specifically designed not to interfere with landmark nuclear agreement.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks live on television after casting his ballot in the Iranian presidential election in Tehran, Iran June 12, 2009.
Caren Firouz/REUTERS

Iran would face tighter U.S. sanctions over its ballistic missile launches and other non-nuclear activities under a bill introduced on Thursday by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators including senior members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 

The bill, which has 14 Democratic and Republican sponsors, would set mandatory sanctions for anyone involved with Iran's ballistic missile program and those who trade with them. 

It also would apply sanctions to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and put into law sanctions imposed via presidential executive order on individuals currently sanctioned due to what the bill's sponsors describe as Iranian support for terrorism. 

The bill would also require the president to block the property of any person or entity involved in specific activities that violate the U.N. arms embargo on Iran. 

Iran has suggested about past proposed sanctions bills that they would violate the international nuclear agreement reached during the administration of former President Barack Obama. 

Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, a co-author of the measure, told Reuters the new bill had been written not to interfere with that accord. 

"We assiduously worked to make sure that no provisions actually affect the agreement as it is," he said in an interview.