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U.S. Senate approves sanctions bill targeting Russia, Iran, DPRK

(Xinhua)    13:07, July 28, 2017

The U.S. Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a bill that will slap tougher sanctions on Russia, Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), two days after the bill was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill, approved by a vote of 98 to 2, will also grant the U.S. Congress the power to block U.S. President Donald Trump from unilaterally lifting sanctions on Russia. The bill will now be sent to the White House for Trump to sign into law or veto.

Bernie Sanders, who voted against the bill, said on Twitter that "following Trump's comments that he won't recertify Iran's compliance with the nuclear agreement I worry new sanctions could endanger it." Republican Senator Rand Paul also voted against the bill.

This bill came although Trump administration officials had called on lawmakers to grant "flexibility" to the White House in dealing with Russia.

So far, it remained unclear whether Trump will veto the bill or sign it into law.

Speaking on Thursday before the vote in Senate, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that while the Trump administration "supports sanctions" against Russia, Iran and the DPRK, the White House would make a decision after seeing the contents of the final bill.

Newly appointed White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci told U.S. media that Trump "may sign the sanctions exactly the way they are, or he may veto the sanctions and negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians."

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the bill aimed at targeting key Russian officials in retaliation for Moscow's alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, as well as sanctions against Iran and the DPRK in response to their weapons programs.

On Wednesday, the Kremlin said Russia will respond to a new round of sanctions by the United States should they become law.

"The attitude to this will be formulated after careful analysis, and the decision will certainly be taken by the head of state, President Vladimir Putin," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by TASS news agency.

Iran, too, vowed "a necessary response" to the new U.S. sanctions, according to official IRNA news agency.

Iran is used to these kinds of "hostilities" and knows how to deal with them, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said at a cabinet meeting.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Chen Lidan, Bianji)

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