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Obama signs Iran sanctions bill into law, Iran Claims Fuel Rod Production, Missile Test
BayBak, Azerbaijan | 509 days ago | Sunday, 1st January , 2012 , 20:04 [pm] | Azerbaijan
|.|| The new law only requires military custody for suspects accused of planning attacks on the US or its coalition partners.
Mr Obama insisted that he would not “authorise the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens”.
Iran says it has successfully tested and produced fuel rods for use in nuclear power plants. It also says it has test-fired a medium-range surface-to-air missile near the strategic Strait
US President Barack Obama has signed into law a major defence bill including tough new sanctions against Iran.
The law cuts off from the US financial system foreign firms that do business with Iran’s central bank.
But Mr Obama stressed that he had concerns about parts of the legislation dealing with the handling of foreign terror suspects.
“The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it,” Mr Obama said.
The president signed the law in Hawaii, where he is on holiday. The move comes at a times of heightened tension over the Iranian nuclear programme.
Western powers say Tehran is seeking to acquire a nuclear weapons capability, but Iran insists the programme is purely for energy and medical purposes.
In recent weeks the US has introduced sanctions against Iran’s financial sector, although it has stopped short of targeting the central bank outright.
Tussle with Congress
President Obama had been cautious about harsher sanctions, fearing such a move could disrupt oil markets at a time of economic uncertainty, and alienate potential allies.
The bill, which was passed by wide majorities in both houses of Congress, gives the president the power to grant a six-month grace period to give oil markets time to factor them in.
The president’s signature comes after months of wrangling between Congress and the White House over trying terror suspects.
President Obama opposed provisions that would have eliminated the authority of the executive to use civilian courts for such cases.
White House officials said he was only signing the measure because Congress made changes that no longer challenged the president’s ability to fight terrorism.
“My administration will interpret and implement the provisions described below in a manner that best preserves the flexibility on which our safety depends and upholds the values on which this country was founded,” Obama said in the signing statement.
The new law only requires military custody for suspects accused of planning attacks on the US or its coalition partners.
Mr Obama insisted that he would not “authorise the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens”.bbc
Iran says it has successfully tested and produced fuel rods for use in nuclear power plants. It also says it has test-fired a medium-range surface-to-air missile near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
Iranian television said the rods, which contain natural uranium, were made in Iran and inserted into the core of a research nuclear reactor in Tehran.
The Tehran Times newspaper called the fuel rod production a “great achievement [that] will perplex the West.”
State media also boasted that the missile tested Sunday was equipped with technology enabling it to pinpoint radar-evading targets.
At the same time, Iranian officials were dismissing Washington’s move to impose new sanctions on financial institutions that deal with Iran’s central bank. U.S. President Barack Obama signed the sanctions into law Saturday as part of a push to hamper Tehran’s ability to finance its nuclear enrichment program.
Both the United States and the European Union contend that Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear intentions are peaceful.
Iran has threatened to respond to possible wider sanctions on its oil exports by closing the Strait of Hormuz, a vital export route for the other oil-producing countries of the Persian Gulf. The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, says it will not allow disruptions to Gulf shipping.
There has been no official response in Western capitals to the latest Iranian announcements, which came a day after Tehran proposed a new round of talks with the West on its nuclear activities.
The state-run news agency IRNA quoted national security adviser Saeed Jalili as saying he was inviting the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany – known as the P5+1 – to “come back to talks.” The agency said Iran’s ambassador to Germany would present the proposal to the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton.
The P5+1 last met with Iran nearly a year ago, but the talks ended with no agreement. At the time, Jalili said Tehran would maintain its right to nuclear technology, including uranium enrichment.voa, Voice of a Nation