Find a Security Clearance Job!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

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 
mass destruction.
While U-S overtures for talks have been rebuffed, the 
two sides have had sports and cultural exchanges in 
recent years.
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

Join the mailing list