Sunday, January 25, 2009

US Treasury-designate vows pressure on Iran§ionid=351020101

US Treasury-designate vows pressure on Iran
Fri, 23 Jan 2009 09:01:41 GMT

Timothy Geithner promises to follow former President George Bush's policy of putting financial pressure on Iran.
US Treasury secretary-designate vows to follow Bush's procedures on Iran over its nuclear program, despite Obama's claims of new policies.

Timothy Geithner promised to follow former President George Bush's policy of putting financial pressure on Iran over its disputed nuclear activities on Thursday.

"I agree wholeheartedly that the Department of the Treasury has done outstanding work in ratcheting up the pressure on Iran, both by vigorously enforcing our sanctions against Iran and by sharing information with key financial actors around the world," he wrote in to members of the Senate Finance Committee pointing out to policies executed at the time of the previous administration.

Geithner said that if confirmed as the Secretary, he would 'consider the full range of tools available to the US Department of the Treasury including unilateral measures' to halt Iran's nuclear progress, AFP reported.

The US, Israel and their western allies accuse Iran of developing military applications of nuclear technology. Iranian officials, however, categorically reject the allegations.

The US has imposed unilateral financial sanctions on Iranian commercial banks including Melli, Saderat, Sepah and Mellat to pressure the country into stopping its activities.

The sanctions ban any transactions between a US citizen or institution with the four Iranian banks.

This is all while the new administration has brought prospects of change as US President Barack Obama vows to follow new diplomacies on world issues including Iran's nuclear program.

Obama has promised direct dialogue with Iranian officials, and Iranian officials say they are open to talks with the West to remove any 'misunderstanding' over Iran's nuclear program.
Obama urged to change US approach on Iran
Thu, 15 Jan 2009 18:45:59 GMT
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iran has urged President-elect Barack Obama to change the US approach toward Tehran, saying the "carrot and stick" policy is ineffective.

In a Tehran press conference, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the US should respect Iran's rights and not set preconditions before talks.

"Tehran would welcome talks with Washington based on mutual respect," he affirmed.

President Ahmadinejad advised Washington to change its "arrogant" behavior toward Tehran and said that his administration would "closely" follow Obama's decisions about Iran.

"If Americans want to improve their relations with Iran, they must change their behavior," he said, expressing hope that the incoming US government would respect the will of the American nation.

During his election campaign, Obama promised to directly and diplomatically engage Iran in talks.

US Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton On Tuesday said the Obama administration would try a "new approach" toward Iran.

Washington has not had any official diplomatic ties with Tehran for almost three decades. The two countries severed all ties in 1980 after the takeover of the US embassy in Tehran.
Iran: Obama better stick to change
Mon, 12 Jan 2009 14:16:54 GMT
Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Hassan Qashqavi
Tehran has advised US president-elect Barack Obama against repeating the Bush administration's approach toward Iran's nuclear program.

"It's better for Obama to avoid the position that the previous administration took up against Iran, as it was proven wrong," Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Hassan Qashqavi said in a Monday press conference.

"Mr. Obama has made some comments about a change in the US approach, but now we must wait and see whether this change of approach will lead to a significant alteration in US behavior toward Iran, or not," he added.

Qashqavi said that global public opinion is waiting to see Obama implement the change he promised during his US election campaign.

The spokesman pointed out that Tehran would act 'accordingly and in a timely fashion' after the new US administration clarifies its stance towards Iran and its peaceful nuclear program.

Obama has solemnly vowed to "move swiftly" in order to diplomatically engage Iran over its nuclear case.

"I think that Iran is going to be one of our biggest challenges," he said in an interview with ABC News which was broadcast on Sunday. Obama has vowed to abandon the Bush administration's policy of isolating Tehran and engage in 'tough but direct diplomacy' with senior Iranian officials, after taking office on Jan. 20.

In the interview, Obama said 'a nuclear-armed Iran could potentially trigger a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.'

However, he promised to put "a new emphasis on respect and a new emphasis on being willing to talk, but also a clarity about what our bottom lines are."

"And we are in preparations for that. We anticipate that we're going to have to move swiftly in that area," he said.

The US, Israel and their European allies, accuse Iran of having plans to develop a military nuclear program. Iran, on the other hand, has rejected the claims, insisting that its nuclear activities are directed at the civilian applications of the technology.

In its latest report, the UN nuclear watchdog confirmed Iran's repeated assertions by stating that its inspectors had 'been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran'.

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