Speaking to Congress Thursday, President Obama announced renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran, thus adhering to a precedent that began in 1995. According to the BBC:
Although the Obama administration is reviewing its policy towards Iran, not extending the sanctions would have constituted a major break with the past, says BBC state department correspondent Kim Ghattas in Washington.
Iran faces other punishing international measures, including three sets of UN sanctions, over its refusal to freeze its uranium enrichment activities.
The US sanctions against Iran would have lapsed without Mr Obama's formal notice of renewal.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad responded by labeling the decision "childish" and a "grave blunder." According to CBS News:
The president said the U.S., "thought that with childish and ugly behavior they could stop a great nation and its capable experts from moving towards accomplishment."
Ahmadinejad's defiance came, symbolically, as he inaugurated phases nine and 10 of the South Pars gas development in Asaluyeh, southern Iran.
He claimed it was actually the West's strict sanctions against his country which have motivated Iran to develop its energy technology -- including nuclear energy advances. America and its allies suspect Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon, though Tehran insists they just want to generate electricity.