Sanders wants Iran sanctions bill delayed in wake of Tehran attacks

US Senator Bernie Sanders (Photo by AFP)

US Senator Bernie Sanders has urged the Senate to delay voting on an anti-Iran sanctions bill to protect the 2015 nuclear deal and show solidarity with Iranians in the wake of Wednesday's terror attacks in Tehran.

Senators were preparing to vote for a bill that introduces more sanctions against Iran over its development of ballistic missiles for defensive purposes.

Speaking on Senate floor, Sanders advised lawmakers against extending sanctions against Iran while the Islamic Republic mourned the victims of two terror attacks that killed 12 people and injured dozens more in the capital Tehran earlier.

“Let us be aware and cognizant that earlier today the people of Iran suffered a horrific terror attack in their capital Tehran, in which 12 people were killed and many more were injured,” the Vermont senator told his colleagues, referring to two terror attacks at Iran’s parliament and Imam Khomeini’s Mausoleum.

“In a time when tensions are extremely high in that part of the world, our goal must be to find ways to bring people together to reduce tensions rather than to exacerbate this very painful and dangerous situation,” Sanders said.

Iranian policemen evacuate a child from the parliament building in Tehran on June 7, 2017 during an attack on the complex. (Photo by AFP)

He reminded other senators that Iranian people joined their leaders and expressed their support for Americans following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in New York and even held vigils for the victims.

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“It seems to me to be the right thing to do that on a day when Iran has been attacked by ISIS… by terrorism, now it is not the time to go forward with legislation calling for sanctions against Iran,” he further argued, asking the Senate to delay the vote for another week.

Citing officials of former President Barack Obama’s administration, Sanders also warned that any extension of the bans would endanger the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers—the US, the UK, France, Russia, China and Germany.

Russia bans

Meanwhile, the Vermont senator expressed full support for the anti-Russia bans that a number of leading Senate members, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as the heads of the Senate Foreign Relations and the Banking committees, were trying to include in the bill as an amendment.

“I am strongly supportive of sanctions against Russia,” he said. “Russia, as we all know, actively worked to influence our 2016 presidential election and continues to try and destabilize democracies around the world.”

 The US has already imposed various economic sanctions against Moscow over its alleged role in the ongoing Ukraine crisis.

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