Washington: US President Donald Trump has signed a sweeping sanctions measure that targets Russia, Iran and North Korea, the White House said on Wednesday.
The President's signature comes after some speculation that he could veto or not sign the legislation, which passed both chambers of Congress in overwhelming votes last week, CBS News reported. Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials had signaled, however, that Trump planned to sign the bill into law. While he signed the bill, the President made clear in a statement on Wednesday that he is signing the bill "for the sake of national unity" even though he isn't satisfied with some of its provisions. "I favour tough measures to punish and deter bad behavior by the rogue regimes in Tehran and Pyongyang. I also support making clear that America will not tolerate interference in our democratic process, and that we will side with our allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilization," he said. He added, "Still, the bill remains seriously flawed -- particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch's authority to negotiate." The bill maintains and expands sanctions against the Russian government. Most importantly, it will require congressional approval before the president can ease or lift sanctions on Russia. The measure also targets sanctions on Russian activities that undermine US cybersecurity, sanctions on Russian crude oil projects and on certain transactions with foreign sanctions evaders and human rights abusers, among other things. A day after the Senate passed the new set of sanctions, Russia's Foreign Ministry last Friday announced countermeasures in which it set a September 1 deadline for Washington to reduce the number of diplomatic staff in the country and ordered some US-run facilities in Russia to close.