US: Iran lashing out to "distract" from sanctions

US says Iran is lashing out to "distract attention" from damage of sanctions

Associated Press
US: Iran lashing out to "distract" from sanctions

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Police officers stand around an Israeli diplomat's car that was damaged in an explosion in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. Indian investigators were searching Tuesday for the motorcycle assailant who attached a bomb to an Israeli diplomatic car in the heart of New Delhi in an attack the Jewish state blamed on Iran or its proxies.(AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House says Iran is lashing out at the world to "distract attention" from the damage that international sanctions are having at home.

Iran is claiming Wednesday that it has achieved two major advances in its program to master production of nuclear fuel, a defiant move in response to increasingly tough Western sanctions over its disputed nuclear program. Iran state media also reports steps to cut oil exports to six European countries in retaliation for new European Union sanctions, including a ban on Iranian oil.

White House press secretary Jay Carney says such "defiant acts" show that Iran's leaders are under pressure.

The sanctions are intended to persuade Iran to back down. Iran has refused, although it signaled Wednesday that it is willing to return to talks.

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