The US House of Representatives [official website] approved a bill [text] Tuesday regarding sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, with a vote [vote record] of 419-3. The sanctions against Iran are for the country’s ballistic missile program, terrorism related activities and human rights violations. The sanctions against Russia are for human rights abuses, undermining cybersecurity, and providing weapons to Syria, and strengthen the sanctions under the Ukraine Freedom Act of 2014 [text, PDF]. The North Korean sanctions expand the sanctions under the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 [text], including adding sanctions for providing rockets or significant amounts of specific elements. The EU has issued a warning [CNN report] against the US regarding the proposed sanctions against Russia. The EU has concerns that the sanctions could impact the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Section 232 of the House bill allows sanctions against those who makes an investment that ” directly and significantly contributes to the enhancement of the ability of the Russian Federation to construct energy export pipelines,” or provides support that “could directly and significantly facilitate the maintenance or expansion of the construction, modernization, or repair of energy export pipelines by the Russian Federation.” US Senator Bob Corker has stated [CNN report] that he will attempt to strip the North Korean sanctions out of the bill and have those sanctions voted on separately.
In March the European Court of Justice [Official Website] ruled [JURIST report] that the European Union’s sanctions against Russia were valid. The situation involving Russia and Ukraine has been a source of conflict since Russia’s annexation of Crimea [Reuters backgrounder] in March 2014. The United States expanded [JURIST report] sanctions against North Korea in January due to human rights violations. In March 2016 the Obama administration also issued sanctions [JURIST report] against North Korea for their recent actions of nuclear and ballistic missile testing. A US bill renewing sanctions against Iran was enacted into law [JURIST report] in December.