Monday, March 16, 2009

Obama Extends Sanctions Against Iran

Obama Extends Sanctions Against Iran for Another Year

The United States fears that Iran's nuclear program is a cover to build atomic weapons although Tehran says it is enriching uranium to produce nuclear energy for civilian purposes.

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Citing a continued "unusual and extraordinary threat to U.S. national security," President Obama on Thursday extended sanctions against Iran for one year in a public notice.

It is unclear how Iran will respond to the move. The United States severed diplomatic ties with Iran during the hostage crisis nearly 30 years ago at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, but Obama has signaled a willingness to pursue a dialogue with the country, particularly over its nuclear program.

At his inauguration in January, Obama said his administration would reach out to rival states, declaring "we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."

The United States fears that Iran's nuclear program is a cover to build atomic weapons. But Tehran denies it, saying it is enriching uranium to produce nuclear energy for civilian purposes.

The policy affirmed by Obama on Thursday began with an executive order by President Clinton on March 15, 1995. Since then, it has been affirmed by the White House every year.

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