London- Iran threatened on Friday to retaliate against a U.S. Senate vote to extend the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) for 10 years, saying it violated last year’s deal with six major powers that curbed its nuclear program.
“As repeatedly stated by high-ranking Iranian officials, the recent bill passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate to renew sanctions against Iran is against the (nuclear deal),” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said.
“Iran has proved that it sticks to its international agreements but it also has appropriate responses for all situations.”
The Iran Sanctions Act passed the Senate 99-0 on Thursday, after easily clearing the House of Representatives last month.
President Barack Obama is expected to sign the measure, the White House said on Friday.
“We believe the Iran Sanctions Act extension is not necessary, but we also believe it won’t interfere with the Iran deal,” spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters at a daily press briefing. “I would expect the president to sign this piece of legislation.”
The legislation does not directly address the nuclear pact. But some say the restrictions in the bill go against the spirit of the agreement, under which Tehran curbed its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief from the United States and other nations.
The bill includes penalties against Iran’s banking sector, as well as its energy and defense industries.
Senate Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Tim Kaine, who both backed the nuclear deal, said that while the president was currently waiving some sanctions as part of the agreement, “sanctions legislation must remain in place to allow an immediate snap-back” in the event of any violation by Iran.
The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, said the U.S. sanctions legislation “does exist but its effect has been currently neutralized by the U.S. president”.
“If it becomes operational again, it’s a clear violation,” he told state television.
Supreme leader Ali Khamenei said last month that he considered the sanctions bill a breach of the nuclear deal and warned Iran would “react against it”.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump heavily criticized the pact as he campaigned for the White House over the past year.
The ISA had been due to expire on Dec. 31.
In a related development, Iranian MP Mohamad Reda Tabesh said he drafted a bill on Friday to ban import of consumer goods from the U.S. in response to the extension of the sanctions.
“Members of parliament prepared a draft bill, which will ban a purchase [by Tehran] of any U.S. consumer goods in response to the decision of the U.S. Senate to extend sanctions against Iran,” he said.
“The bill would be brought to the parliament for consideration,” he added.