Eliot Engel Pushes for More Sanctions on Iran, Condemns Its Support for Terrorism

Washington- Member of the Democratic Party and New York Rep. Eliot Engel is sponsoring a bill with nine other congressmen seeking sanctions against Iran and Qatar for its support of extremist groups, such as Hamas.

The bill, filed on 25 May, refers to Qatar as a state-sponsor for Hamas leaders in Doha, providing financial and military support to the movement. It also cites Qatar’s hosting of former Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashal on Al-Jazeera.

As for Iran’s part, the bill condemned the cleric-led country’s continued financial and military assistance to Hamas.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Engel accused Iran of being a sponsoring center for regional terrorism, pointing out that the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in Syria would have been deposed had it not been for Russian and Iranian interference.

More so, Engel stressed the importance of upholding current sanctions against Iran, and that imposing more on the Tehran regime for its unchecked ballistic missile tests, sponsoring terrorism and human rights abuses is important.

Reviewing the bill, Engel said that he is seeking to invoke counterterrorism measures against Hamas, as well as punishing countries willing to sponsor them whether financially or politically.

The draft law is under consideration and is receiving bipartisan negotiations in order for it being later passed.

The bill is not intended to target a country in and of itself, but to pursue terrorism, and terrorist organizations, including Hamas and Hezbollah, said Engel.

Engel said he designates both Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups, and that they must be internationally condemned.

The congressmen added that a key reason behind his opposition to the nuclear deal is that it allows for a terror-sponsor state to unrestrictedly continue its terror activities.

Engel explained that the nuclear deal concluded by the United States and world major powers is not sufficient to block Iran from owning a nuclear warhead, but only guarantees it not doing so for the short time of 15 years.

Iran can later acquire a nuclear weapon.

Hamas, officially deemed as a terrorist group by the United States, is considered one of Iran’s terror proxies.