Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and US President Barack Obama. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON -- US President Barack Obama extended the country's national emergency with respect to Iran on Wednesday, noting that the crisis in relations "has not been resolved" despite high-stakes negotiations between the countries under way over Tehran's nuclear program.
The official state of relations has been in crisis for two decades, since March 15, 1995, when President Bill Clinton signed executive executive order 12957 pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
Technically, there are two executive orders on Iran declaring states of emergency: order 12957 and order 12170, signed by President Jimmy Carter. Together, they have frozen Iranian assets held in the United States and have prohibited certain transactions with respect to Iran's petroleum products.
Progress has been made in the relationship, Obama noted a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio): The interim Joint Plan of Action, which laid the groundwork for nuclear talks, "marks the first time in a decade that Iran has agreed to take, and has taken specific actions that stop the advance and roll back key elements of its nuclear program."
"Nevertheless," he continued, "certain actions and policies of the Government of Iran are contrary to the interests of the United States in the region and continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States."
"For these reasons, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared with respect to Iran and to maintain in force comprehensive sanctions against Iran to deal with this threat."