President Clinton's decision to sever remaining economic ties with Iran has provoked a mixed response.
Supporters of the move hope it will punish Iran for backing terrorism and developing nuclear weapons.
Critics say the embargo will most likely backfire and hurt American companies.
After President Clinton announced the US was cutting off economic ties with Iran, his Secretary of State was quick to explain the move.
"Iran is an outlaw state. Its repugnant behavior has not changed. Let me be clear about what our main concerns are. First, Iran is the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Second, through its support of particular terrorist enterprises, Iran seeks to undermine the Middle East peace process. And third, Iran is a major proliferation threat and is pursuing a determined course to acquire nuclear weapons."
SUPERCAPTION: Warren Christopher, US Secretary of State
He said he hoped that US allies would soon follow suit.
"The argument that was most persuasive to me was that other nations were using our trade with Iran as an excuse for making concessionary credits or taking other actions to strengthen Iran. I think the President felt, I certainly felt that we did not want to give anybody a justification or an excuse or really even an argument against the strong position that we are taking".
SUPERCAPTION: US Secretary of State
One Iranian scientist in Washington DC told APTV that he believes the US no longer thinks Iran will change its ways without substantial economic pressure.
"I don't think this is an immediate or sudden decision. For the last three to four months the United States has been engaged in a major policy review towards Iran. I personally think it is supplanting dual containment. Dual containment was predicated on the assumption that if Iran changes its policy in certain areas, four or five areas, then the United States would be willing to talk with Iran. I think the current assumption is that Iran is not capable of modifying its behavior and the
United States has nothing to basically talk to Iran about and its- particularly- its opposition to the Arab- Israeli peace process and its quest for nuclear weapons are regarded as major national security threats by the United States".
SUPERCAPTION: Ahmed Hashim, Iranian scientist
One of the main items on the US agenda is to convince Russia to cancel its plan to sell nuclear reactors to Iran. President Clinton is expected to discuss the sensitive issue with Russian counterpart Boris Yeltsin next week in Moscow.
Russia signed an 800 (m) million dollar agreement in January to complete work on two reactors at the Bushehr nuclear plant in southern Iran.
Despite Iranian assurances that nuclear power is essential for energy, the US fears Tehran will use the plant to make weapons-grade plutonium.