Iran Sanctions Renewal Becomes Law Without Obama Signature | NBC Southern California
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Iran Sanctions Renewal Becomes Law Without Obama Signature

Obama's move doesn't prevent the sanctions renewal from entering force, but it marked a symbolic attempt by the president to demonstrate disapproval for lawmakers' actions

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    President Barack Obama speaks about Iraq in the Brady Briefing room of the White House on June 19, 2014 in Washington, D.C.

    In an unexpected reversal, President Barack Obama declined to sign a renewal of sanctions against Iran but let it become law anyway, in an apparent bid to alleviate Tehran's concerns that the U.S. is backsliding on the nuclear deal. 

    Although the White House had said that Obama was expected to sign the 10-year-renewal, the midnight deadline came and went Thursday with no approval from the president. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama had decided to let it become law without his signature. 

    "The administration has, and continues to use, all of the necessary authorities to waive the relevant sanctions" lifted as part of the nuclear deal, Earnest said in a statement.

    Under the Constitution, the president has 10 days after Congress passes a bill to sign it, veto it or let it become law with no signature if Congress is still in session. Although lawmakers have returned home for the holidays, Congress technically has not adjourned and is holding "pro-forma" sessions this week.

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    A pig who escaped slaughter is now living out her life in a South African sanctuary and painting original works that have sold for up to $2,000.

    "She was really small when I rescued her," said Joanne Lefson, who manages the South African Farm Sanctuary, a haven for rescued farm animals where the pig now lives. "She's very smart and intelligent so I placed a few balls and some paintbrushes and things in her pen, and it wasn't long before I discovered that she really liked the bristles and the paintbrush...She just really took a knack for it."

    Funds from the art sales go towards the sanctuary.

    (Published Wednesday, March 29, 2017)

    Though Obama's move doesn't prevent the sanctions renewal from entering force, it marked a symbolic attempt by the president to demonstrate disapproval for lawmakers' actions. The White House has argued that the renewal is unnecessary because the administration retains other authorities to punish Iran, if necessary, and has expressed concern that the renewal may undermine the nuclear deal.

    Iran's president had vowed to respond if the sanctions were renewed, arguing they violate the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which eased sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran's nuclear program. On Tuesday, Iran's president ordered up plans to build nuclear-powered ships and to formally accuse the U.S. of violating the terms of the deal.

    The Obama administration stressed that Iran would be unaffected by the renewal, as long as it continues honoring the nuclear deal. Secretary of State John Kerry said he'd told his Iranian counterpart that "to ensure maximum clarity," he'd issued new, redundant waivers exempting Iran from sanctions lifted under the deal. 

    "Extension of the Iran Sanctions Act does not affect in any way the scope of the sanctions relief Iran is receiving under the deal or the ability of companies to do business in Iran consistent with the JCPOA," Kerry said, using an acronym for the nuclear deal. 

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    Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave her first major public speech on Tuesday since losing the 2016 presidential election, speaking at a meeting of the Professional Businesswomen of California organization in San Fransisco, California.

    (Published Wednesday, March 29, 2017)

    President-elect Donald Trump has been sharply critical of the nuclear deal and has threatened to try to renegotiate it, but has been vague about whether he'd pull the U.S. out of it.