THE US Senate has joined the House of Representatives in voting overwhelmingly to impose new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, against the wishes of Donald Trump. Its Bill will now be sent to the President for him to sign into law.

Trump has sought closer ties with Russia and has the power to veto the Bill, but this can be overturned by a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate.

Russia has already retaliated, telling Washington to cut its diplomatic staff to 455. It has also barred the use of some properties, bringing US embassy staffing levels into line with Russia’s embassy in Washington.

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The Senate vote came before it emerged that North Korea had carried out another test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). It flew for longer than any of its predecessors, staying in the air for about 45 minutes before landing in the ocean off Japan.

The measures against Iran, which is accused of human rights violations and supporting terrorism through the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), were welcomed by Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) – the country’s opposition-in-exile. She said that for years the NCRI had urged the West to recognise the revolutionary guards as terrorists.

“The policy of appeasing the mullahs’ religious dictatorship paved the way for the IRGC and its proxies’ rampage in the entire region,” she said.

Rajavi said the sanctions should be implemented immediately and in full, and stressed there should be no loopholes to allow the regime to evade the punishment.

She urged other countries, in particular the EU and Middle East nations, to adopt similar sanctions to deny the regime the chance to take advantage of its diplomatic and commercial ties with them.

“The immediate implementation of sanctions against the IRGC and its affiliated entities must be coupled with the expulsion of IRGC and its affiliated militias from the Middle East, in particular from Syria and Iraq,” Rajavi said. “This is indispensable to the enactment of this act and a prerequisite to ending conflict and crisis that have engulfed that region.”

Rajavi said the sanctions should be completed with action against the officials responsible for executions and torture – particularly the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988 . Topping that list, she said was the mullahs’ supreme leader, Ali Khamenei.

Rajavi added: “Recognition of the Iranian people’s desire and right to overthrow the mullahs and establish democracy and freedom is the greatest contribution to peace and tranquillity in the Middle East and the world.”