WASHINGTON Donald Trump’s transition team is examining proposals for new non-nuclear sanctions on Iran, the Financial Times reported on Friday, citing congressional sources who have been in contact with the president-elect’s team.
Officials with Trump’s team have been in touch with fellow Republicans in Congress, where they hold the majority, to discuss possible sanctions separate from last year’s Iran nuclear deal that could focus on its ballistic missile program or human rights, the sources told the FT.
“They (Trump team members) are already looking closely at their options — and that very much includes non-nuclear sanctions,” a congressional official told the media outlet.
The deal that was reached last year between Iran, the United States and five other world powers lifted some sanctions against Tehran in return for restrictions on its nuclear program.
On the campaign trail, Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, vowed to tear up the agreement with Iran and negotiate a better one. He also criticized sanctions that blocked U.S. companies from Iran and noted the difficulty of discarding a deal with U.N. backing.
The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed a 10-year extension of sanctions against Iran that lawmakers and the Obama administration have said would not violate the nuclear agreement reached last year with Iran. On Friday, Iran threatened retaliation, saying the vote breached the deal.
The measure, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives last month, now goes to the White House for President Barack Obama to sign into law. That would delay potentially tougher actions until next year.
Several Republican U.S. lawmakers already have introduced proposals for additional sanctions on Iran separate from the nuclear pact or plan to do so.
“The big difference next year is that we will go from a White House that did everything it could to block these bills to a White House that will be in favor and maybe even sponsor some of these proposals,” a congressional source told the Financial Times.
(Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Bill Trott)