Obama extends emergency regarding Iran

March 9, 2011 at 10:08 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 9 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Iran continued to pose a threat to national security and thereby extended a national state of emergency.

U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1995 signed an executive order that found the actions of the Iranian government constituted a threat to national and foreign affairs of the United States.

Since then, Washington has put pressure on Iran for its controversial nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency said this week that while it couldn't find evidence that Iran was diverting its declared nuclear material, it wasn't sure the program was solely for peaceful purposes.

Washington last year reacted to nuclear concerns by targeting the Iranian energy sector with unilateral economic sanctions.

In foreign policy, Iran is accused of undermining U.S. efforts in Iraq and more recently military officials in Afghanistan said they had evidence to suggest Taliban insurgents were carrying Iranian weapons.

In terms of human rights, Iran was admonished for its crackdown on protesters disputing the 2009 re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Leaders of an opposition movement are now under arrest and Iranian lawmakers have called for their execution.

"Because the actions and policies of the government of Iran continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States, the national emergency declared on March 15, 1995, must continue in effect beyond March 15, 2011," said Obama in a White House statement.

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