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Source: Reuters

Mar 24, 2023

By David Lawder and Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON, March 23 (Reuters) - Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Thursday the United States was looking at ways to strengthen its sanctions against Iran, but acknowledged the sanctions had not resulted in the behavioral or policy changes Washington desires from Tehran.

"Our sanctions on Iran have created real economic crisis in the country, and Iran is greatly suffering economically because of the sanctions ... Has that forced a change in behavior? The answer is much less than we would ideally like," Yellen told lawmakers in a hearing on Thursday.

Yellen did not specify what behavioral change Washington was expecting from Tehran. However, Washington has previously raised concerns over Iran's nuclear program, human rights record and relations with Russia amid its war with Ukraine.

The United States has imposed multiple sanctions on Iran over the years, most recently targeting Iran's unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) industry over supply of drones to Russia that Washington says are used to target civilian infrastructure in the conflict in Ukraine.

Ties between Iran and the United States have become increasingly strained as efforts to revive a 2015 nuclear deal have stalled. The U.S. also imposed sanctions recently on Iran over the death of 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini in police custody on Sept. 16 last year.

Amini was arrested in Tehran by the morality police for flouting the hijab rules, which required women to entirely cover their hair and bodies, and died in custody. Anti-government demonstrations spread after her death.

Reporting by David Lawder; writing by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler and Sandra Maler

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