Washington: US President Barack Obama has renewed the 1979 financial sanctions against Iran, the White House reported.
"Because our relations with Iran have not yet returned to normal, and the process of implementing the agreements with Iran, dated January 19, 1981, is still underway, the national emergency declared on November 14, 1979, must continue in effect beyond November 14, 2011," Obama said in a notice to Congress Monday.
The decision is technical, as the US president extends the sanctions, introduced after US embassy staff were taken hostage in Tehran in November 1979, every year.
The US and Iran broke off diplomatic ties in 1979, when Iranian students seized the US embassy in Tehran and held 52 US diplomats hostage for 444 days.
In January 1981, the US and Iran signed agreements with Algerian mediation. The agreements were called upon to resolve the crisis with American hostages still held then by Iranians. They also contained a few basic principles to heal the bilateral relations.
The US has since initiated the introduction of international UN Security Council sanctions against Iran.
The West suspects Iran of pursuing a secret nuclear weapons programme, but the Islamic Republic insists it needs nuclear power solely for civilian purposes.