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DATE=3/14/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=U-S-IRAN SANCTIONS (L)(CQ) NUMBER=2-260179 BYLINE=DAVID GOLLUST DATELINE=WHITE HOUSE CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The Clinton administration is preparing to ease some trade sanctions against Iran, with the hope of encouraging reform elements in Tehran and opening a dialogue with Iranian authorities. V-O-A's David Gollust reports from the White House. TEXT: Officials here say the administration will announce an easing of non-oil trade sanctions against Iran as a gesture to reformers who swept the Iranian parliamentary elections last month, but have been reluctant to accept U-S overtures for dialogue. The move, to be announced Friday, would allow Americans to buy some key Iranian export goods -- including rugs, caviar and pistachio nuts -- for the first time in 13 years. While declining specifics on the pending announcement, White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said the administration wants to respond positively to the parliamentary elections that yielded big gains for supporters of President Mohammad Khatami: /// Lockhart Act /// Obviously we recognize the positive outcome of the election in Iran in recent weeks. We are looking, considering ways to encourage a constructive dialogue with Tehran that includes all the issues that we have concern about, particularly terrorism and non-proliferation. /// End Act /// The administration has made repeated calls for what it terms an "authoritative" dialogue with Tehran since the election of President Khatami -- a relatively moderate Muslim cleric -- in 1997. It has said that while all issues of concern to both sides should be addressed, the United States would want to discuss Iran's opposition to Arab-Israeli peace efforts, its alleged support for Middle East terrorist groups, and efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction. While U-S overtures for talks have been rebuffed, the two sides have had sports and cultural exchanges in recent years. Under questioning here, spokesman Lockhart said he was unaware of any change in Iran's stance on the peace process or support for extremist factions. In a letter to Congress Monday, President Clinton cited what were described as threatening Iranian actions and policies as the rationale for extending -- for another year -- a ban on U-S oil development contracts with Tehran. The easing of non-oil trade restrictions is expected to be announced by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright or another senior administration official at a Washington meeting of the private American-Iranian Council, to which Iran's United Nations ambassador has reportedly been invited to attend. The two governments have not had official relations since the Islamic revolution and student takeover of the U-S embassy in Tehran in 1979. (Signed) NEB/DAG/JP 14-Mar-2000 14:21 PM EDT (14-Mar-2000 1921 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .