Menendez Bill to Expand Sanctions on Iran, Codify Current Russia Sanctions Overwhelmingly Passes Senate 98-2

Menendez Bill to Expand Sanctions on Iran, Codify Current Russia Sanctions Overwhelmingly Passes Senate 98-2


U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), today applauded the overwhelming passage of S. 722, bipartisan legislation he authored that imposes new, strict sanctions both on Iran for its ballistic missiles program and Russia, for its continued aggression against the U.S. and its allies. 

Sen. Menendez said: 

“Today’s overwhelming passage of our bi-partisan legislation signals to the world that the United States Congress is ready and willing to take clear and decisive action to protect our national security interests here at home and abroad.  With the Administration yet to articulate a clear vision for America’s leadership around the world, I am proud to have crafted a measure that holds our adversaries accountable for their actions and ensures that Congress exercises its oversight responsibilities regarding our nation’s foreign policy. 

 “This legislation reaffirms that the United States will not turn a blind eye to Iran’s nefarious destabilizing activities throughout the Middle East including its support for terrorism and continuing tests of ballistic missiles. With Iran’s influence growing ever more across the region – from its support of a Shia proxy network in Iraq, to its continued sponsorship of terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, to its abhorrent alliance with Syria and Russia, this legislation ensures the United States has a strategy in place to secure American interests in the region.

 “At the same time, I’m pleased this final bill also includes my measures to codify existing sanctions on Russia for its unprecedented and multifaceted cyber-attack on our nation during the 2016 elections, as well as sanctions on individuals who violate human rights in Russian-occupied or controlled territories such as Crimea.”   

The final legislation was built upon the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017 which Menendez introduced on March 23rd along with SFRC Chairman Bob Corker, (R-Tenn.), SFRC Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.).  It contains the following key provisions: 

  • New Mandatory Ballistic Missile Sanctions: Imposes mandatory sanctions on persons involved with Iran’s ballistic missile program and those that transact with them.
  • New Terrorism Sanctions: Applies terrorism sanctions to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and codifies individuals who are currently sanctioned due to Iranian support for terrorism.
  • Enforcement of Arms Embargo: Requires the president to block the property of any person or entity involved in specific activities related to the supply, sale, or transfer of prohibited arms and related material to or from Iran.

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate adopted an amendment to the bill incorporating key elements of the STAND for Ukraine Act and the Countering Russian Hostilities Act, both authored by Sen. Menendez to impose additional sanctions on Russia for undermining American democratic institutions and human rights violations, and also codifying existing sanctions requiring Congressional review of any decision to weaken or lift them in the future.