Bush signs sanctions extension against Iran. Libya
US President George W. Bush signed into law Friday, August 3, a measure extending for five years a 1996 sanctions act that curbs foreign investment in the petroleum and gas industries of Iran and Libya.
The US Congress passed the measure last week and Bush said he shared Congressional concern "about the objectionable policies and behavior of Iran and Libya." Washington considers both countries to be supporters of international terrorism and the development of weapons of mass destruction.
The sanctions allow the US government to penalize foreign businesses with more than $20 million invested annually in either Iran's or Libya's energy sector. Under the new law, the president has the power to waive the provisions citing the national interest and the administration must report to Congress on the sanctions' success in two years.
Bush held out hope of better relations with both countries if they chose to cooperate on terrorism and on bridging other differences with the United States. Washington broke off relations with Tehran in 1980 after a hostage crisis at the US embassy in Tehran, and imposed an oil embargo on the country in 1995.
Diplomatic relations with Tripoli are also frozen amid US contentions that Libya has not yet taken full responsibility for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland that killed 270 people nor has it adequately compensated the families of victims.
"Libya must address its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions. These relate to the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and require Libya to accept responsibility for the actions of Libyan officials, disclose all it knows about the bombing, renounce terrorism, and pay appropriate compensation," said Bush.
As for Tehran, "I hope that the Iranian people's recently expressed desire for a freer, more open, and more prosperous society will give our two countries an opportunity to identify areas where our interests converge, and where we can work together constructively for our mutual benefit," the president said. ― (AFP, Washington)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)
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