US to hit Iran with sanctions, send more military aid to Israel

US to hit Iran with sanctions, send more military aid to Israel
Despite criticism by Washington over how Israel has dealt with the monstrous war on Gaza, it remains its biggest military provider.
3 min read
15 April, 2024
The House of Representatives will discuss a range of draft laws this week targeting Iran [Getty]

Washington is set to impose more sanctions on Iran following Tehran’s unprecedented attack on Israel late on Saturday and early on Sunday, while simultaneously approving more military aid to Tel Aviv, Axios reported.

The US House of Representatives will vote on more than a dozen draft laws seeking to slap new sanctions on Iran and Iranian-backed factions in the region in response to the hundreds of missiles and drones launched on Israel, the US news site said.

"The bills would require the US to "fully implement" sanctions on Iran and ensure they aren't being skirted, restrict Iranian imports and transactions between Iran and US financial institutions, and sanction on Chinese companies that buy oil from Iran," according to the Axios report.

The strikes came in response to the April 1 Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital, Damascus, which killed several officers from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including two top commanders.

It marked the first time that Iran had directly hit Israel. The two countries have long been engaged in a shadow war.

Shia groups backed by Iran such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Yemen’s Houthis also took part in the retaliatory attack, and the US, UK, and France helped Israel intercept the projectiles.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said on Monday that his country does not want more tensions and escalation in the region, calling on the United States to "accept" his country’s response to Israel, and avoid taking any "irresponsible" steps against Iran. Tehran on Sunday warned that it would hit back against any future Israeli or US attacks.

Despite President Joe Biden’s criticism of Israel's brutal war on Gaza, the US has reiterated its unwavering and "ironclad" support for Israel against any external threats, including through military aid.

Israel has received more US foreign aid than any other country since World War Two, although annual assistance has been dwarfed for two years by funding and military equipment sent to Ukraine since Russia's 2022 invasion.

But Biden told Netanyahu over the weekend that the US would not take part in any counter-strike against Iran, according to the White House, saying he did not want a war with Iran and urged for de-escalation in the region.

Other draft laws set to be discussed by the US House of Representatives include urging the European Union to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organisation, as well as declaring the slogan "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" to be antisemitic.

The slogan refers to Palestine’s natural boundaries and its liberation from Israeli occupation – from the Jordan River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.

Israel and some of its allies have deemed it to be "antisemitic," claiming it’s a call to wipe out Israel and its Jewish population.

The bills require a two-thirds majority to pass.