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Rafsanjani says US suspension of Iran sanctions political gesture

Chairman of the Expediency Council (EC) Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani here on Thursday described a recent US decision to suspend certain sanctions against Iran as a "political gesture," IRNA reported from Bam, Kerman province.

Rafsanjani, talking to reporters after an emergency meeting on Bam earthquake, said the issue still needs to be studied, stressing that no meeting has yet been held to that effect.

"This issue is normally discussed at the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), and an appropriate policy in that connection will be taken accordingly," he said.

Rafsanjani's remarks follow a decision by the US on Wednesday to waive its sanctions on the Islamic state for 90 days, thus easing delivery of aid to victims of a recent devastating quake in the historical city of Bam, in southeast Iran.

On Wednesday, the United States cited Iran's "extraordinary humanitarian needs" to justify its decision to suspend for 90 days its restrictions on sending cash and equipment to the Islamic republic.

"The Iranian people deserve and need the assistance of the international community to help them recover," White House spokesman Trent Duffy said in a statement. "The American people want to help."

Rafsanjani further said that the US has raised lies against the Islamic Republic "although it is showing certain changes and signals". He recalled US accusations against Iran that it is violating human rights and also that it is pursuing weapons of mass destruction as examples of those lies.

"Still, there have been positive signs from this country," Rafsanjani said.

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

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

Iran's ancient southeastern Silk Road city of Bam, Kerman Province, was almost levelled to ground last Friday when an earthquake measuring 6.3 degrees on the Richter scale shook the city.

The death toll of the quake has so far been declared at over 30,000 with several thousands injured. The toll is feared to go even higher.

... Payvand News - 1/2/04 ... --

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