The U.S. government has renewed its sanctions on Iran which were first put in place in 1995. The sanctions were extended in response to Iran's continued support for international terrorism and its failure to comply with its UN Security Council, International Atomic Energy Agency, and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations.
These sanctions have been renewed annually since they were first implemented and will continue to bar virtually all trade and investment relations between U.S. companies and Iran.
The extension of the sanctions comes at a time when President Barack Obama has signaled his intention to support tough and direct diplomacy with Iran. He has said if Iran unclenches its fist, the U.S. will present it with a welcoming hand:
"In the coming months, we will be looking for openings that can be created where we can start sitting across the table, face to face, diplomatic overtures that will allow us to move our policy in a new direction."
The leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran have not yet indicated their willingness to engage diplomatically to solve long-held differences. The continuation of these U.S. sanctions since 1995 is a direct consequence of Iran's continued refusal to comply with its international responsibilities.
As Vice President Joe Biden noted at the 45th Munich Security Conference in February, "Our administration is reviewing our policy toward Iran, but this much is clear: We will be willing to talk. We'll be willing to talk to Iran and to offer a very clear choice: continue down the current course and there will be continued pressure and isolation; abandon the illicit nuclear program and your support for terrorism, and there will be meaningful incentives."