Putin: New sanctions will 'complicate' Russia-US ties

In a almost unanimous vote, the U.S. Senate on Thursday approved new sanctions against Iran and Russian Federation that also limit President Donald Trump's administration from weakening existing sanctions against Moscow.

"Whenever the USA does something that Russia doesn't like, Russia picks things to do that the United States wouldn't like", says Simon Saradzhyan, founding director of the Russia Matters Project at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. "This bipartisan amendment is the sanctions regime that the Kremlin deserves for its actions", Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who pushed for the legislation, told Reuters.

The Senate voted 98 to 2, today, to pass the underlying Iran sanctions legislation as amended. "It provides for actors undermining cyber security being subject to sanctions".

"I'm concerned about it, but I don't really have the ability to dictate what the White House says to the House", Sen. But senators evidently wanted to warn the president of getting too close to the country, with which he did business as a private citizen, or of loosening any previous sanctions on the country. "We can have congressional hearings, we can put a spotlight on it. And all during that process, the sanctions remain in place".

In a state-television interview which aired Saturday, Russian president Vladimir Putin said that the proposed sanctions were "harmful" and would "complicate Russia-American relations".

The Republican-led Senate voted decisively to punish Moscow for interfering in the 2016 election by approving a wide-ranging sanctions package that targets key sectors of Russia's economy and individuals who carried out cyber attacks.

McCain described existing punitive measures against Russian Federation as "modest" and "reversible at the discretion of the president". So far, at least, that has been a bet worth taking for the White House, though the new penalties against Russian Federation are also built into a bill that gives Trump something he wants: new sanctions on Iran - so that raises the stakes for the president should he threaten a veto.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said this week that he was wary of Congress taking actions that could interfere with the administration's efforts to improve relations with Russian Federation.

The larger measure to which it is attached could pass this week, according to The Hill. Bob Corker saying: "Look, this bill is going to become law". Also included in the bill is an amendment strengthening sanctions for Russian officials who support cyberattacks against the US and its allies.

If the Trump administration decides to oppose the new sanctions, they could be in a bind. "The debate we have here is on the non-nuclear activities of Iran that violate global norms and worldwide agreements".

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