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Rouhani Promises to Respond Firmly Should Obama Approves Sanctions Renewal | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani (Reuters)

London – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed to “firmly respond” to an extension of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), warning that such measure would represent a violation of Tehran’s nuclear deal.

Addressing Parliament on Sunday, Rouhani called on President Barack Obama to block an extension of sanctions passed by the U.S. Congress, saying Tehran would otherwise respond firmly to such decision.

Rouhani denounced the legislation, which was passed by the U.S. Congress to extend the ISA for 10 years, describing it as a violation of Tehran’s nuclear deal with six major powers. The deal curbs Tehran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of international financial sanctions.

“America’s president is obliged to exercise his authority by preventing its approval and particularly its implementation … and if this gross violation is carried out we will firmly respond,” Rouhani was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The White House said on Friday that Obama was expected to sign the legislation, which will become a biding law.

Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly for the extension of ISA for another ten years.

ISA, which was first adopted in 1996, punishes investments in Iran’s energy industry and deters the country’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The House of Representatives voted 419 to one for a 10-year renewal of the legislation, which was then approved by the Senate and needs Obama’s signature before the end of the year, when American sanctions are set to expire.

On Sunday, 264 lawmakers in Iran’s 290-seat parliament issued a statement calling on the government to implement counter measures, including re-launching nuclear enrichment halted under the atomic deal, the official news agency IRNA reported.

Last month, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that the extension would be viewed in Tehran as a breach of the nuclear accord and threatened retaliation.