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US government shutdown affects Iran sanctions: White House

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The ongoing government shutdown in the United States is having effects on the enforcement of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear energy program.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control that handles sanctions had to furlough all but 11 of its 175 full-time employees.

“The office is unable to sustain its core functions,” he told reporters on Friday.

Washington and its allies insist the sanctions aim to stop Iran from developing its nuclear program. Tehran, however, says the sanctions are illegal and its nuclear program is solely civilian.

“It illustrates the consequences the Republican shutdown continues to have the government’s mission and workers across the country,” Carney said.

“It is time for [House Speaker John Boehner] to bring up the Senate-passed funding bill and just vote,” he added.

On Tuesday, the US government began a partial shutdown after the Republican-led House of Representatives and the Democratic-led Senate did not agree on an emergency spending bill to fund the government.

The two chambers have blamed each other for the shutdown over President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, Obamacare.

The House had included provisions in their continuing resolutions that defunded or delayed Obamacare, which the Senate has said they refuse to consider.

Hundreds of thousands of federal employees face unpaid leave with no guarantee of back pay when the deadlock is over.

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