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    TEHRAN, January 2 (RIA Novosti) - Chairman of Iran's Expediency Discernment Council (a body under the spiritual leader of the Islamic republic consulting the Iranian government, which has no analogue in other countries' political systems) Ayatullah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (Iran's president in 1989-1997) called the US Administration's decision on temporary lifting of sanctions against the Islamic republic of Iran 'a political gesture.' "The US' decision to temporarily lift sanctions against Iran can be characterized as a political gesture on the part of Washington," Rafsanjani said Friday upon visiting the earthquake-destroyed city of Bam in Iran's southeast.

    "This issue must be considered by the Iranian leadership; we're going to look into it soon at one of the sessions of the Supreme National Security Council of the Islamic republic and work out a relevant political line," the former Iranian president added.

    At the same time he called the latest statements made by the American State Department's top officials in regard to Iran 'positive signals'.

    US President George Bush, on New Year's Eve, gave an instruction to partly lift the regime of sanctions in regard to Iran to streamline the conditions of granting humanitarian aid to those who suffered in the Bam earthquake.

    US State Secretary Colin Powell said Washington was ready to improve its relations with Tehran.

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