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Rohani Says Iran Will Respond If U.S. Enacts New Sanctions Bill

Iranian President Hassan Rohani says his country will respond if the United States enacts a new sanctions bill.

The new legislation would impose mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran's ballistic-missile program and anyone who does business with them. The measure would designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization and enforce an arms embargo against Iran.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 419-3 on July 25 and now it goes to the Senate for a vote.

Iranian officials say the bill violates the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers under which Tehran curbed its nuclear activities in exchange for international sanctions relief.

"If the enemy steps over part of the agreement, we will do the same, and if they step over the entire deal, we will do the same, too," Rohani said at a cabinet meeting aired by state broadcaster IRIB on July 26.

"If Americans want this sensitive region to be a stable and more secure regionthey should stop pursuing the policy, he said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said the bill could "affect successful implementation" of the agreement and reduce Iran's benefits from it.

If passed as expected by the U.S. Senate, the bill would require the signature of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump has expressed opposition to the legislation, which also calls for increased sanctions on Russia and North Korea.

Trump has said the legislation would tie his hands in dealing with Russia in regard to future policy on sanctions and his ability to make adjustments.

Administration spokeswoman Sarah Sanders on July 25 said that while "the president supports tough sanctions on North Korea, Iran, and Russia, the White House is reviewing the House legislation and awaits a final legislative package for the president's desk."

If Trump rejects the bill, Congress still could override his veto if there is enough support for the legislation.

The new sanctions bill also targets Russia and North Korea.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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