OREANDA-NEWS. March 29, 2017. A bipartisan group of US senators has introduced legislation to add new sanctions on Iran over its tests of ballistic missiles.

The bill would allow the US to push back against Tehran's "threat to our security and that of our allies," Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) said today.

The legislation, which is also supported by senator Ben Cardin (Maryland), the panel's top Democrat, would not directly target the nuclear agreement that former president Barack Obama negotiated with Tehran. That deal lifted restrictions on crude exports from Iran in January 2016. Iran since then increased production by more than 900,000 b/d to 3.77mn b/d in February.

"I am not aware of any [Senate Foreign Relations] committee member who is calling for the agreement to be torn up," Corker said. "But we would like to push back against Iran's other activities."

The legislation would mandate sanctions on entities supporting Iran's ballistic missile program, as well as stricter sanctions against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a security force with extensive holdings in Iran's economy. The sanctions would prevent foreign companies and banks from doing business with that organization and any companies it owns in Iran.

Tenco, an Iranian oil and gas company linked with the Guard Corps, is a potential contender for exploring in the 25.6bn bl South Azadegan field that state-owned NIOC plans to offer in a tender marking the re-opening of Iran's upstream sector. Total, Petronas, Inpex and Shell also are likely to be invited to bid for that field.

Shell and Total are exploring upstream opportunities in Iran, but both majors have cited uncertainty about future US sanctions.

President Donald Trump's administration has slapped penalties on companies linked to Iran's ballistic program. Trump himself continues to blast the nuclear deal, claiming last week that US military officials and diplomats could not explain its rationale. But Trump's administration will continue to honor the nuclear deal, White House National Security Council senior director Christopher Ford said last week.

The senators also hope to reestablish its authority to set US foreign policy on Iran. "I expect the administration to work with Congress in implementing a coherent policy on Iran," Cardin said. Corker and Cardin co-sponsored the bill with 11 other senators representing both parties.