US Senators Plan Sanctions Against Iraqi Militias With Iran Ties

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican U.S. senators plan to introduce legislation on Wednesday to thwart what they see as Iran’s growing influence in Iraq, amid concerns over attacks in Iraq by groups whom US officials regard as Iranian proxies, a Senate adviser said on Wednesday.

Among other things, the bill would impose terrorism-related sanctions on Iranian-controlled militias and require the US Secretary of State to publish and maintain a list of armed groups receiving assistance from the Guardian Corps. Iranian revolution, or IRGC.

Sponsors of Iran’s “proxy terrorism sanctions law” include Senators David Perdue, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. A similar bill, backed by Republican Representative Ted Poe, has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

There was no immediate word on when the legislation might be considered by committees of Congress, normally the first steps in becoming law.

Three mortar shells fell inside Baghdad‘s heavily fortified Green Zone just after midnight local time on Friday, the first such attack in several years in the area, which is home to parliament, government buildings and numerous embassies foreigners.

On Tuesday, the United States warned Iran that it will “react swiftly and decisively” to any attack by its allies in Iraq that results in injury to Americans or damage to US facilities.

Reuters reported last month that Iran had given ballistic missiles to Shia Muslim proxy groups in Iraq and was developing the capacity to build more of them, a development that could exacerbate tensions between Tehran and Washington, already exacerbated by the President Donald Trump.

In May, Trump withdrew the United States from a 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran and ordered the reimposition of suspended US sanctions as part of the deal to block Tehran’s nuclear capabilities.

Iran’s Sunni Muslim neighbors in the Gulf and its nemesis Israel have expressed concerns about Tehran’s regional activities as a threat to their security.

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