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Iran's Parliament Speaker Blasts US Actions

Iran's Parliament Speaker Blasts US Actions
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Iran's parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, has criticized U.S. President Barack Obama, arguing that his promise to change U.S. policy toward Tehran amounts to nothing.

Speaker Larijani said after a year of U.S. President Barack Obama's speeches and slogans, it is a "disgrace" the U.S. president's actions are the same as his predecessor.

Larijani argued two actions last week showed that little had changed in U.S. policy since the presidency of George W. Bush. The Iranian lawmaker decried the extension of U.S. sanctions against Iran for another year.

Last Thursday, Mr. Obama renewed the long-standing injunctions imposed in the early days of the Islamic Revolution against financial dealings with Iran.

The same day, U.S. prosecutors moved to seize property belonging to companies accused of transferring money illegally to the Islamic Republic.

Among the assets eyed by the prosecutors are several American mosques and a New York skyscraper owned by the Alavi Foundation and the Assa Corporation. They are accused of sending money to the Iran's state-owned Bank Melli.

The U.S. Treasury says Bank Melli helps pay for weapons proliferation, and forbids U.S. citizens from dealing with it.

The Alavi foundation disputes the allegations, but says it is cooperating with investigators.

Larijani also rejected the latest Western proposal to resolve questions about Iran's nuclear program, dismissing it as "unimportant" and "irrational." The plan calls for Iran to send uranium abroad for enrichment, but Tehran countered with conditions to what was presented as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.

After a forum in Singapore, President Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said time was running out for Iran to accept the plan.

Washington and others are concerned Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, while Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.