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Senate unanimously votes to extend Iran sanctions

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif answers questions of lawmakers in an open session of parliament in Tehran, Iran. (AP/Vahid Salemi)

The U.S. Senate voted unanimously Thursday in favor of a 10-year extension of sanctions on Iran.

The move comes as President-elect Donald Trump is being pressured to walk back his campaign promise that he'll undo the nuclear agreement with Iran forged by Secretary of State John Kerry and outgoing President Barack Obama.

The bill approved today, which was also passed by the House of Representatives, renews the 1996 Iran Sanctions Act before its expiration at the end of the year.

Politico reported:

Supporters of the extension say keeping the law on the books would send a signal to Iran that the United States can quickly re-instate the sanctions if the Islamic Republic violates the nuclear pact.

“If the sanctions architecture has expired, then we have no sanctions which we can snap back,” Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), a senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said on the Senate floor ahead of the vote. With the law’s extension, “The Iranians will know the consequences of any breach.”

Obama has not yet decided whether he'll sign the sanctions extension, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

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