Libya Slams US Senate Decision to Extend Sanctions
Libya slammed on Saturday the US Senate decision to extend sanctions against it for five years as "cause for dismay and condemnation," the Libyan news agency, Jana, reported. The move is "regrettable" and based on "allusions created by Zionist propaganda," a foreign ministry official was quoted by the BBC as telling Jana.
"If the Zionist propaganda has misled congressmen by these allegations and lies about the Great Jamahiriyah regarding what it called the support for terrorism, this has already been refuted as Libya has never supported terrorism," the official was quoted as saying.
The Senate also extended the sanctions against Libya for another five years, in an attempt to hinder foreign interests from significantly investing in the two countries' oil and gas sectors.
The Senate voted 96-2 to extend the 1996 Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA), acting against President George W. Bush's administration, which had pushed for only a two-year period renewal.
"The use of sanctions as a political tool is an archaic and failed move, contradicting...international norms and trade ties among countries," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi said on Thursday.
"The extension of the sanctions indicates the lack of logic in US foreign relations, its resort to force and violence, as well as America's enmity toward a nation that has showed itself an example of democracy in the region," he added.
In a world that is quickly moving toward cooperation and convergence, “America will end up helpless and isolated among countries, with its companies left out in competition with other countries,” Assefi said.
Signed into law in August 1996 by then-president Bill Clinton, ILSA was intended to isolate Iran and Libya at a time when both were accused by Washington of sponsoring acts of terrorism.
Following the Islamic revolution, the United States and Iran severed diplomatic relations in 1980 and Washington imposed an oil embargo on Tehran.
Sanctions against US companies doing business in Iran were authorized in 1995.
Washington maintains no diplomatic ties with Libya, a country it considers a backer of international terrorism. US sanctions against Libya were imposed in the aftermath of the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, which left 270 people dead.
Former president Bill Clinton last year lifted controls on some non-oil Iranian exports -- caviar, pistachio nuts and rugs -- in hopes of encouraging democratic shifts in Iran after reformers won in the February 2000 legislative elections.
But Tehran has rebuffed efforts to start a direct dialogue until all sanctions are lifted - Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)