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    US Says Core Iran Sanctions Must Remain for Now

    FILE - U. S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman arrives for a meeting on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva.
    FILE - U. S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman arrives for a meeting on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva.
    VOA News
    A top U.S. official says limited sanctions relief for Iran is possible if it takes confidence-building steps to allay concerns about its nuclear program, but that fundamental measures must remain in place until all issues have been dealt with.
     
    State Department Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman told a Senate panel Thursday that any diplomatic engagement with Iran will be accompanied by the "vigorous enforcement" of sanctions already in place.
     
    She described the measures — imposed following Iran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment — as "the toughest sanctions the world has ever seen" and asserted they have forced Tehran to the negotiating table.
     
    "Twenty-three economies have united in significantly reducing or eliminating purchases of Iranian crude oil. Over the past 24 months, Iran's rial has depreciated by approximately 60 percent as Iran's access to the international financial sector has been largely severed."
     
    But while the tough measures have worked so far, the United States government shutdown has forced the Treasury Department to furlough most employees enforcing sanctions on Iran, just as new negotiations are set to begin.
     
    U.S. officials said the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, responsible for enforcing economic and trade sanctions against Iran and Syria, is being hindered because it has been pared down to a “skeleton crew.”
     
    Earlier Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry expressed cautious hope about engaging with Iran over its nuclear program, but said Iran must take concrete steps to prove its sincerity. Speaking Thursday in Tokyo, Kerry said nothing will be taken at face value.
     
    Fears about Iran's nuclear program remain a key issue, with Western nations and Israel saying Iran is working to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has long said its program is peaceful.
     
    U.S. President Barack Obama said last week in a phone call with Rouhani that he believes a comprehensive solution can be reached over Iran's nuclear program, and that the two sides are moving forward.
     
    But Obama assured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Iran must prove its sincerity through actions before getting any relief from the sanctions.
     
    Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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    Comments
         
    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    October 03, 2013 11:58 AM
    Kerry is somebody you can trust. He is forceful, he is aggressive, he is resolute and sets target with timeline for goals to achieve. If somebody says to Netanyahu 'Iran must prove its sincerity through actions before getting any relief from the sanctions', and his countenance shows that he wishes he did not have to say it that way, and Kerry makes it clear that nothing will be taken at face value, I will take Kerry's for authenticity. Since he came on stream he has not looked for bail out from himself or drawn a red line and trip over it. I wish he was the helmsman!
    In Response

    by: Sam222
    October 03, 2013 1:17 PM
    Anytime a politician who is involved in negotiation is setting the stage and conditions for an upcoming negotiation meeting, then, it will only tell you that he is either not serious or trying to sabotage the plan. Kerry is a politicians just like all the others. His obligations and commitments are to himself, interest groups, Club members, buddies, and when he can, fellow Americans. Colin Powell was a man that fit your description, but at the end of the day, Mr Powell was infected with the (PS) politician syndrome as he lied to the world in the wake of the 2003 Iraq war. I'm glad that Obama is trying diplomacy, but I'm cautious that Israel will energies their NeoCon party (here in the US congress) with the help of the AIPAC to sabotage the deal. They are already beginning to clip the white dove wings one feather at a time.

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