WASHINGTON A bill extending U.S. sanctions against Iran for 10 years will become law without President Barack Obama's signature, but will not affect implementation of the international accord limiting Iran's nuclear programme, the White House said on Thursday.
The announcement represents an apparent reversal by the administration, after it said previously Obama would likely sign the act passed by Congress last month extending some sanctions on Tehran and also making it easier to reimpose others lifted under the 2015 nuclear pact.
"This Administration has made clear that an extension of the Iran Sanctions Act, while unnecessary, is entirely consistent with our commitments in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Consistent with this longstanding position, the extension of the Iran Sanctions Act is becoming law without the President's signature," a White House statement said.
In response to the U.S. sanctions move, Iran ordered its scientists on Tuesday to start developing systems for nuclear-powered marine vessels.
That action by Tehran is expected to stoke tensions with Washington, already heightened by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's vow to scrap the deal under which Iran curbed its nuclear fuel production activities in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
(Reporting by Eric Walsh; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Alden Bentley)