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US halts sanctions on Iran broadcaster

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is temporarily waiving sanctions on Iran’s state broadcaster, a senior Obama administration official said late Thursday.

The move could be seen as a confidence-building measure as the United States, Iran, and five other world powers prepare to open talks this month on a final agreement on Iran’s disputed nuclear program.

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The official said the move comes after the United States determined that ‘‘harmful satellite interference’’ was not currently emanating from Iran.

The United States levied sanctions on Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting last year, charging that the state-run broadcaster was blocking foreign channels that the government found objectionable and citing human rights groups who say the broadcaster distorted and falsified reports.

The official confirmed the waiver the same day the Treasury Department said it was penalizing dozens of foreign companies and individuals for evading Iran sanctions.

Treasury accused the entities and individuals of evading US sanctions, aiding Iranian nuclear and missile proliferation, and supporting terrorism.

The 180-day broadcasting waiver will allow non-US companies to provide the Iranian broadcaster with satellite services without being exposed to US penalties, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official said the actions were reversible if satellite interference from Iran begins again. The United States will reevaluate the situation in two months.

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