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US House Passes Stop Iranian Drones Act

US House Passes Stop Iranian Drones Act

Friday, 29 April, 2022 - 08:30
A drone at the Iranian army's annual parade last week (Iranian Presidency)

The US House of Representatives unanimously passed the Stop Iranian Drones Act (SIDA) to end its drone program and impose sanctions on its supporters.

The bill was approved by 424 votes against two and required approval from the Senate and a presidential signature to become law.

Republicans Tom Massie and Marjorie Greene were against the bill.

The bill promises to punish those who deal with the Iranian regime in the drones' program under the US Sanctions on conventional weapons.

Democratic Representative Ted Deutsch tweeted: "time, and again, Iran has used UAVs to threaten global stability and US interests. Congress countered this destabilizing behavior today and passed the Stop Iranian Drones Act."

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik said the Act would stop Iran or Iranian allies from acquiring combat drones that could be used against US troops or US allies.

Alleging that Iran is "the world's leading exporter of terrorism," Stefanik said the world should know Washington will "use every tool at its disposal to cut off Iran's access to deadly weapons."

The legislators spoke of the importance of approving such a draft as Iran uses the drones to spread panic in the Middle East and attack US forces, Israel, and allies in the region.

They urged the Senate to pass the exact version of the bill quickly ahead of sending it for signing at the White House.

Last December, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Mike McCaul, warned of the danger of drones against the US and its allies in the Middle East.

McCaul said that "these attacks are intolerable" whether Iran launches the attack, the Houthis, Iran-backed militia groups, or other Iran-sponsored entities.

"The people of the Middle East, including Americans living there, cannot live in freedom, stability, or prosperity under assault by Iran's drones," said McCaul.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks pointed out that the "deadly drones in the hands of the world's greatest exporter of terrorism, Iran, jeopardizes the security of the United States and regional peace."

He asserted that the recent Iranian drone attacks on US troops, commercial shipping vessels, regional partners, and the export of drone technology to conflict zones pose a dire threat.

The Democratic representative stressed that the bill sends a strong signal to the international community that it supports the Iranian drone program and will not be tolerated by the US government.

The senators pledged to expedite the bill's approval, which was put forward by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Bob Menendez, and its top Republican, Jim Risch, in December.

The lawmakers behind the proposed legislation say it clarifies that US sanctions on Iran's conventional weapons program under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) include the supply, sale, or transfer to or from Iran of drones, which can be used in attacks against the US or its allies.

"Iran's increasing reliance on unmanned aerial vehicles to attack US personnel and assets across the Middle East and shipping vessels, commercial facilities, and regional partners is a serious and growing menace to regional stability," said Menendez.

He warned that Iran's reckless export of this technology to proxies across the region represents a significant threat to human lives.

"We must do more to hold Iran accountable for its destabilizing behavior as we continue to confront the threat of its nuclear program."

Risch said the US must do more to halt "Iran's regional terrorism," as "we saw with recent Iranian-sponsored drone attacks on American troops and the Iraqi Prime Minister, as well as the constant attacks on Saudi Arabia."

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