US Senate votes almost unanimously for Russia, Iran sanctions

The US Senate voted nearly unanimously on Thursday to impose new sanctions on Russia and Iran and force President Donald Trump to get Congress's approval before easing any existing sanctions on Russia.

Republican and Democratic senators said the sanctions, approved by a vote of 98-2, are needed to punish Iran for its recent flurry of ballistic missile tests and human rights abuses and to punish Russia for its interference in last year's presidential election and its aggression in Syria. After the vote, Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the sanctions punish Iran's destabilizing missile tests, weapons exchanges, terrorism training, illegal financial activities, threatening the US Navy, and capturing US citizens.

Corker said this new legislation will send a very strong signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin and that the White House will find it hard to withdraw the sanctions. However, analysts said the Senate's vote might be rejected by President Trump, who has been trying to improve relations with Moscow.

Source: VOV5