TITLE=U-S-IRAN SANCTIONS (L)(CQ)
INTRO: The Clinton administration is preparing to
ease some trade sanctions against Iran, with the hope
of encouraging reform elements in Tehran and opening a
dialogue with Iranian authorities. V-O-A's David
Gollust reports from the White House.
TEXT: Officials here say the administration will
announce an easing of non-oil trade sanctions against
Iran as a gesture to reformers who swept the Iranian
parliamentary elections last month, but have been
reluctant to accept U-S overtures for dialogue.
The move, to be announced Friday, would allow
Americans to buy some key Iranian export goods --
including rugs, caviar and pistachio nuts -- for the
first time in 13 years.
While declining specifics on the pending announcement,
White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said the
administration wants to respond positively to the
parliamentary elections that yielded big gains for
supporters of President Mohammad Khatami:
/// Lockhart Act ///
Obviously we recognize the positive outcome of
the election in Iran in recent weeks. We are
looking, considering ways to encourage a
constructive dialogue with Tehran that includes
all the issues that we have concern about,
particularly terrorism and non-proliferation.
/// End Act ///
The administration has made repeated calls for what it
terms an "authoritative" dialogue with Tehran since
the election of President Khatami -- a relatively
moderate Muslim cleric -- in 1997.
It has said that while all issues of concern to both
sides should be addressed, the United States would
want to discuss Iran's opposition to Arab-Israeli
peace efforts, its alleged support for Middle East
terrorist groups, and efforts to acquire weapons of
While U-S overtures for talks have been rebuffed, the
two sides have had sports and cultural exchanges in
Under questioning here, spokesman Lockhart said he was
unaware of any change in Iran's stance on the peace
process or support for extremist factions.
In a letter to Congress Monday, President Clinton
cited what were described as threatening Iranian
actions and policies as the rationale for extending --
for another year -- a ban on U-S oil development
contracts with Tehran.
The easing of non-oil trade restrictions is expected
to be announced by Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright or another senior administration official at
a Washington meeting of the private American-Iranian
Council, to which Iran's United Nations ambassador has
reportedly been invited to attend.
The two governments have not had official relations
since the Islamic revolution and student takeover of
the U-S embassy in Tehran in 1979. (Signed)
14-Mar-2000 14:21 PM EDT (14-Mar-2000 1921 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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