March 13, 2009
The US has extended a set of sanctions against Iran for another year over claims that Tehran is still a threat to US national security.
[efoods]“The actions and policies of the Government of Iran are contrary to the interests of the United States in the region and pose a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat” to US national security and the US economy, President Barack Obama said in a Thursday message to Congress.
In April 1995, a total embargo on dealings with Iran by US companies was imposed by Bill Clinton’s administration. The sanctions also banned American companies from helping Iran to develop its oil industry.
The sanctions would have expired if Obama had not extended them.
Tehran and Washington have had no diplomatic relations for nearly three decades. The two countries severed all ties in 1980 in the aftermath of a US embassy takeover by Iranian revolutionary students.
The United States and its Western allies claim that Iran’s nuclear program is aimed at developing atomic weapons. Tehran denies the charge, saying its nuclear program is solely for electricity-generating purposes.
Obama has vowed to begin direct talks with Iran to thaw relations between the two nations and resolve Iran’s nuclear issue. However, he has made no concrete offer of talks yet and his decision to restore the sanctions seems to undermine the US administrations claim of a new rhetoric towards Iran.