US sees sanctions impact on Iranian politics

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By MARJORIE OLSTER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — American officials are hailing the election of an Iranian president who vows to seek relief from international sanctions as the first tangible evidence that the U.S. strategy is influencing Tehran's nuclear policy.

The draconian sanctions have wreaked havoc on the Iranian economy and weighed heavily in the June 14 vote for Hasan Rowhani (hah-SAHN' roh-HAH'-nee), who openly criticized how his country's leadership has handled the nuclear issue.

Rowhani's election has opened a debate in the U.S. on whether it's time to ease sanctions and see whether Tehran shifts away from what the U.S. believes is the pursuit of a nuclear weapon. It also has set off intense discussions among government agencies on how to proceed with Iran, according to U.S. officials not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.

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