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U.S. Senate to vote on Iran sanctions renewal this week

Senate Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks during a new conference following party policy lunch meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate will vote this week on a bill that would renew sanctions on Iran for 10 years, Senator Mitch McConnell, the chamber’s Republican leader, said on Tuesday in remarks as he opened the daily session.

If the extension of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) is passed as expected, it would be sent to the White House, where President Barack Obama is expected to sign it into law.

The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly last month for the extension of the ISA, first passed in 1996 to punish investments in Iran’s energy industry and deter the country’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The act will expire at the end of 2016 if not renewed.

The Obama administration and other world powers reached an agreement last year in which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

But members of Congress said they wanted the ISA to stay in effect to send a strong message that the United States will respond to provocations by Iran and give any U.S. president the ability to quickly reinstate sanctions if Tehran violated the nuclear agreement.

White House officials have said they did not think the reinstatement was needed, now that the nuclear agreement has been in effect for almost a year. But they also have not raised concerns that a renewal would violate the deal.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by David Gregorio