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News Wrap: Iran Calls U.S. Sanctions on Central Bank ‘Psychological War’

February 7, 2012 at 12:00 AM EST
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Iran today dismissed new American sanctions against the country’s central bank. A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry charged the move amounted to psychological war, and he insisted the sanctions will not make Iran give up its nuclear program.

RAMIN MEHMANPARAST, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman (through translator): The actual results of these measures will be a stronger and more serious determination from our nation to achieve its great objectives within the framework of the national interest and the nation’s rights.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Also today, the Iranian parliament summoned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for questioning over a number of charges. They include allegations that he has mismanaged the country’s economy.

In Iraq, ministers from a Sunni-backed bloc ended their boycott of the cabinet and returned to work. The Sunnis walked out last December, after the Shiite-dominated government tried to arrest Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, the country’s top Sunni official. The Sunnis were under growing pressure to end the boycott, as the government struggles to cope with new violence.

The chairman of the Federal Reserve urged Congress today to find agreement on extending tax cuts. A Social Security payroll tax cut is set to expire this month, and the Bush era tax cuts run out at year’s end.

At a Senate hearing, Ben Bernanke said letting taxes rise would hurt growth.

BEN BERNANKE, Federal Reserve chairman: There’ll be a very sharp change in the fiscal stance of the federal government, which by itself would — with no compensating action, would indeed slow the recovery.

HARI SREENIVASAN: On Wall Street today, stocks rebounded late to make up earlier losses. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 33 points to close at 12,878. The Nasdaq rose two points to close at 2,904.

A vice president at the Susan G. Komen breast cancer charity resigned today. Karen Handel actively supported a move to halt grants for Planned Parenthood because Congress was investigating the group’s funding of abortions. Komen later rescinded the cutoff under heavy criticism. Handel defended the original policy today. She said it was not influenced by her own anti-abortion views and criticism of Planned Parenthood.

The last known veteran of World War I has died in England nearly a century after the war ended. Florence Green joined the Women’s Royal Air Force in September of 1918, when she was just 17. The service trained women as mechanics, drivers and for other jobs. Green served as a waitress in an officers’ mess. Florence Green would have turned 111 years old later this month.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.