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Senate OKs Russia, Iran Sanctions Bill With Amendment for Russian-Made Rocket Engines

The Senate voted 98-2 Thursday to pass a bill that would enact new sanctions against Russia and require the White House to secure congressional approval before lifting any current sanctions, Reuters reported Thursday.

The proposed legislation seeks to penalize Russia for its interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, involvement in Syria’s civil war and annexation of the Crimea region in Ukraine.

The measure covers new sanctions on Russia’s mining, energy, metals, railways and shipping projects as well as punitive actions against Russian cyber threat actors and the country’s involvement in weapons delivery to Syrian government.

The bill would also impose sanctions on Iran with regard to its ballistic missile activities that are not linked to the nuclear agreement the Arab country signed with the U.S. and other countries.

Space News also reported that lawmakers also voted 94-6 to clear an amendment to the Senate bill that would permit NASA and space launch service providers to continue to import and use Russian-made rocket engines for civil and commercial launches.

“Without passage of Amendment #250, we lose a tremendous portion of our access to space,” said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado).

Gardner introduced and sponsored the amendment with Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida) and other lawmakers.

Russia-based NPO Energomash supplies RD-180 and RD-181 engines that run on United Launch Alliance-built Atlas 5 and Orbital ATK-made Antares rockets, the report added.

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