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US extends national emergency on Iran, in effect since 1995, by another year

Biden cites ‘unusual and extraordinary threat’ posed by Tehran, in decision to uphold order

US President Joe Biden speaks virtually to the Munich Security Conference in Germany, from the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on February 19, 2021. (MANDEL NGAN / AFP)
US President Joe Biden speaks virtually to the Munich Security Conference in Germany, from the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on February 19, 2021. (MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

US President Joe Biden on Friday extended the country’s state of emergency with regard to Iran by another year.

Executive Order 12957, first approved in 1995, has been renewed periodically since. It had been set to expire on March 15.

Announcing the move, Biden — who is seeking to reenter the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers — said the Islamic Republic poses an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to the US.

“The actions and policies of the Government of Iran — including its proliferation and development of missiles and other asymmetric and conventional weapons capabilities, its network and campaign of regional aggression, its support for terrorist groups, and the malign activities of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its surrogates — continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” the president said in a White House statement.

“For these reasons, the national emergency declared on March 15, 1995, must continue in effect beyond March 15, 2021.”

Biden has expressed a desire to return to the 2015 nuclear deal if Iran honors the deal’s limits on its nuclear program. However, tensions remain high after militias in Iraq — likely backed by Iran — continue to target American interests.

Biden last month launched an airstrike just over the border into Syria in retaliation, joining every American president from Ronald Reagan onward who has ordered a bombardment of countries in the Middle East.

Iran has stepped up its violations of the nuclear pact in recent months, enriching uranium to just under weapons-grade levels and restricting international inspections of its nuclear sites.

Former US president Donald Trump withdrew from the deal and reimposed sanctions on Iran in 2018.

AP contributed to this report.

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