Obama OKs military law, Iran sanctions; objects to terrorist rules
US President Barack Obama late Saturday signed into law a 662-billion-dollar defence spending bill that provides for a new round of economic sanctions against Iran that are likely to provoke new tensions with Tehran, dpa reported.
In an 1,800-word statement, Obama also voiced unusually strong objections about the law's provisions about detaining terrorist suspects, saying he had "strong reservations" about this and a number of other sections of the bill.
"I want to clarify that my administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens," Obama said in a statement released from Honolulu, Hawaii, where he is spending the holidays.
The prospect that Obama would approve a new round of Iran sanctions aimed at Iran's central bank provoked a round of sabre-rattling over previous days. Tehran officials made threats about blocking passage of oil transport through the Strait of Hormuz if Obama signed the sanctions.
But the bill provides an 180-day period before going into effect, during which time Obama's administration can determine exactly how to implement them.
Iran's central bank is key to processing income from its oil exports. The US law would put sanctions on all foreign firms and banks that do business with Iran's central bank, presenting the first threat to Iran's oil industry.
Other sanctions to date have mostly focussed on trade in nuclear industry products with Iran.