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Iranian FM welcomes US suspension of sanctions
www.chinaview.cn 2004-01-02 10:59:30

    TEHRAN, Jan. 1 (Xinhuanet) -- Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi Thursday welcomed the US decision to temporarily waive sanctions against Iran, terming the move as "positive".

    "We, too like Iranians living in the US, welcome it (the US move) because they will be able to speed cash donations to their quake-stricken fellow countrymen," Kharrazi was quoted by the Iranian news agency IRNA as saying.

    He said the US sanctions against his country had largely been futile, depriving the US companies and Iranians living in the US more than anyone else.

    He hoped that the US could permanently and completely lift the sanctions, saying such a move would create a new atmosphere for bilateral relations.

    Kharrazi's remarks came after a US decision on Wednesday to waive its sanctions against Iran for 90 days, thus easing deliveryof aid to victims of the recent devastating earthquake in the ancient city of Bam, in southeastern Iran.

    The United States, which has dubbed Iran as part of the "axis of evil" and is dubbed "The Great Satan" by Islamic hardliners in Tehran, cited the Islamic state's "extraordinary humanitarian needs" to justify its temporary lifting of restrictions on sending cash and equipment to Iran.

    The US Treasury issued a general license temporarily enabling US citizens and non-governmental organizations to make direct contributions of dollars to Iranian and other organizations for relief work in and around Bam.

    The US State Department said it was allowing the US government and US NGOs to export to Iran sensitive items like transportation equipment, satellite telephones, and radio and personal computing items.

    In his reaction to the US decision, Iranian Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said Thursday that Americans hadbeen sending positive signals over ties with Iran for several months.

    "I am not sure but there are signals to that effect," Rafsanjani was quoted by the IRNA as saying when asked whether thesignals would be an ice breaking move for resumption of ties between the two nations.

    Washington severed ties with Tehran shortly after the 1979 Islamic revolution when radical Iranian students stormed the US Embassy in Tehran and held 52 hostages for 444 days. Enditem

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