WASHINGTON – The Obama administration signaled Thursday that it had no intention
of letting up on sanctions pressure against Iran following the reelection of US
President Barack Obama.
The United States announced it had sanctioned
four individuals and five entities for censorship, including jamming satellite
broadcasts and blocking Internet access, in the first foreign policy move since
Those designated include Tehran’s Communication and
Information Technology Minister Reza Taghipour, and its Ministry of Culture and
“These actions underscore the administration’s ongoing
commitment to hold Iranian government officials and entities responsible for the
abuses carried out against their own citizens,” State Department spokeswoman
Victoria Nuland said.
“With the measures we are taking today, we draw the
world’s attention to the scope of the regime’s insidious actions, which oppress
its own people and violate Iran’s own laws and international obligations,” she
While the Obama administration is indicating that sanctions will
continue, it will also likely be making a major overture toward Iran to
reinvigorate its diplomatic efforts, according to former White House Iran adviser Dennis
“We will see some kind of significant diplomatic initiative by the
president, by the Obama administration, on the nuclear issue with the Iranians,”
Ross said during an event Thursday at the Washington Institute for Near East
Policy, where he is now a counselor – exploring the implications of Obama’s
reelection for US Middle East Policy.
“No president is going to end up
using force without having demonstrated unmistakably to the world and the
American public that he’s exhausted all the possibilities for diplomatic
negotiations,” Ross said.
There has been speculation that America, which
has so far been holding talks with Iran as part of the P5+1 framework that also
includes Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, would hold direct talks
But some Iranian officials, reacting to Obama’s reelection
on Tuesday, said that negotiations in the face of increasingly tightened
sanctions would be unlikely to make progress.
“After all this pressure
and crimes against the people of Iran, relations with America cannot be possible
overnight and Americans should not think they can hold our nation ransom by
coming to the negotiating table,” Sadeq Larijani, head of the Iranian judiciary,
was quoted as saying by IRNA news agency.
“Four years ago,
Obama... announced he would extend the hand of cooperation to Iran,” he
said. “But he pursued a different path and imposed unprecedented sanctions and
it is natural the Iranian people will never forget such crimes.”
contributed to this report.