Saturday, November 14, 2009

Obama Extends Sanctions Against the Iranian Regime

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Reuters & JTA

President Obama extended for a year U.S. sanctions against Iran. Some of the sanctions, enforced under national emergency laws, have been in place since the hostage crisis of 1979, when government-backed Iranian students occupied the U.S. embassy in Tehran. In a letter to Congress Thursday Obama said "to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States constituted by the situation in Iran." The sanctions, collectively, permit only a narrow range of dealings with Iran and have routinely been extended each year by every president since Jimmy Carter.

Obama and Congress are considering a range of broader sanctions that would target third parties that deal with Iran's energy escort should diplomatic efforts fault to dissuade Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. The timing of Obama's move did not appear intended to send a message to Iran, which faces the threat of a U.S.-led push for further international sanctions unless it complies with demands over its nuclear work. Iran is under pressure to seal a nuclear fuel deal with Washington and other major world powers to help assuage concerns it is trying to develop an atomic bomb. Tehran insists it wants nuclear technology only for civilian power-generating purposes.