U.S. House passes ballistic missile sanctions on Iran

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives voted nearly unanimously on Thursday for new sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program, part of an effort to clamp down on Tehran without immediately moving to undermine an international nuclear agreement.

The vote was 423 to two for the “Iran Ballistic Missiles and International Sanctions Enforcement Act.” Among other things, it calls on the U.S. president to report to Congress on the Iranian and international supply chain for Iran’s ballistic missile program and to impose sanctions on Iranian government or foreign entities that support it.

President Donald Trump said on Oct. 13 he would not certify Iran is complying with an international agreement on its nuclear program, and threatened that he might ultimately terminate the accord.

Trump’s action opened a 60-day window for Congress to act to reimpose sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program that were lifted under the agreement, but there has been no move to do so in the House or Senate.

Aides said that, for now, House lawmakers are focusing on clamping down on Iran in other ways such as the Hezbollah and missile-related sanctions.

U.S. Representative Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who sponsored the ballistic missile bill, has said the international nuclear deal should be strictly enforced by Washington working with its allies.

“The United States must respond to the full range of threats and, with this bill.... that is what we are doing today,” he said.

The House passed three other Iran-related measures on Wednesday, including new sanctions on Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah militia and a resolution urging the European Union to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. [L2N1N02UY]

To become law, the measure would have to pass the U.S. Senate and be signed into law by Trump.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by David Gregorio