The Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act (H.R. 3457), passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday, prohibits the lifting of sanctions on Iran until it pays compensation for its financing terrorism, according to language in the bill.
The legislation, introduced by Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), passed 251-173, with ten Democrats voting in favor.
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, explained why the bill was so necessary, especially in light of Obama's ill-conceived nuclear agreement with Iran:
“The Iranian regime has actively funded terrorist groups and operations that have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Americans. While U.S. courts have held Iran liable for these attacks, requiring Iran to compensate American victims, these judgments remain unpaid.
“The Obama Administration didn’t get compensation for the families of those whose lives were taken by Iranian terrorism in negotiations. U.S. officials admitted they didn’t even try. Once sanctions are lifted, Iran will hit a jackpot in the billions. And American victims will still be out in the cold. That’s wrong. This legislation addresses this injustice. There should be no sanctions relief until Iran pays up what it owes the families of these Americans.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee, meanwhile, had some harsh words for ‘nay’ votes like Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ):
“Kyrsten Sinema is putting the interests of a state sponsor of terrorism over the very people he was elected to represent and protect,” said NRCC Communications Director Katie Martin. “Instead of taking a stand against Iran and standing up for their innocent victims, Sinema has turned a blind eye to their indiscretions. Arizona families deserve a member they can trust to protect them, and not the terrorists.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the world this week that relieving Iran from sanctions will only help to clear their path to a nuclear bomb. Any effort to slow that process, as H.R. 3457 intends, is a good start.
This is the latest effort from congressional Republicans to stymie key provisions in Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran. Additionally, before it secured enough votes, the nuclear deal faced bipartisan rejection. Democratic senators like Chuck Schumer and Bob Menendez, for instance, came out strongly against it. Considering Obama has basically admitted that the deal will finance terror, he cannot be surprised by its number of defectors.
The president, not usually one to keep both ears open for his critics, is expected to veto the bill.