Top US diplomat asks for "flexibility" as Congress passes new Russian Federation sanctions

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Iran’s supreme leader delivering a speech during a meeting in Tehran Sept. 9 2015

Top US diplomat asks for "flexibility" as Congress passes new Russian Federation sanctions

Adopted overwhelmingly as an amendment to an Iran sanctions bill, the measure targets Russia's cyber espionage entities, energy sector, financial interests, and the flow of Russian weaponry to war zones like Syria.

House Republicans are expected to review the Senate-passed sanctions bill in the coming weeks, an aide told Politico. Indeed, the bill requires a congressional review if the president attempts to ease or end sanctions against Moscow, according to the Associated Press.

The power would allow congress to strengthen those sanctions in retaliation for Moscow's alleged interference in the 2016 election and its actions in Syria. "Any idea of the president that he can lift sanctions on his own for whatever reason are dashed by this legislation", CNN quotes Sen.

The measure, attached as an amendment to a broader bill dealing with Iran, firms up existing sanctions against Russian Federation and imposes new ones.

The new bill would slap sanctions on companies in other countries looking to invest in those projects in the absence of U.S. companies, a practice known as backfilling.

Putin dismissed the proposed sanctions, saying they reflected an internal political struggle in the United States, and that Washington's policy of imposing sanctions on Moscow had always been to try to contain Russian Federation.

The White House has been silent on the proposal and administration officials have been unclear on what the official position is. But in a Senate panel Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned against passing a measure, saying it would make it more hard to improve U.S.

The US Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed tough sanctions on Russian Federation and Iran, sending the House of Representatives a bill that would prevent President Donald Trump from unilaterally easing penalties against Moscow.

"Generally speaking, sanctions policies should be carefully calibrated by the foreign policy experts in the executive branch", the official added, noting that the administration "remains committed" to the existing sanctions.

"I called over myself yesterday and just shared some thoughts with them". The amendment was crafted by Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), and Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). Corker said he'd agreed to give Tillerson a "short window of opportunity" to reverse the deteriorating relationship between the United States and Russian Federation. He also said the bill sets an example of how the Senate can work together on complex, hard issues.

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