Inside Politics: Obama meets wounded troops at Walter Reed

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President Obama met with wounded service members from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Mr. Obama traveled to the hospital outside Washington by helicopter a few hours after the Supreme Court ruled on his health care law.

The White House says the president met with 52 wounded troops and awarded one Purple Heart during his stay. It was Mr. Obama’s first visit to the hospital since early March.

Mr. Obama occasionally has visited service members wounded in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. He has touted his efforts to bring home U.S. combat troops from Iraq and wind down the conflict in Afghanistan while urging lawmakers to promote job opportunities for veterans.

STATE

U.S. clears Singapore, China from Iran sanctions

The Obama administration on Thursday cleared China and Singapore from possible U.S. economic penalties, citing their sharp cuts in imports of Iranian oil, as an American deadline arrived for banks to stop processing petroleum transactions with Tehran.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton commended the two Asian countries for “significantly” reducing the oil purchases, and she announced a six-month exception for them to continue buying Iranian crude at lower levels. Eighteen other governments have received similar waivers.

The U.S. penalties are intended to pressure Iran to prove it is not trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran’s oil exports are down about 40 percent, while its currency has fallen sharply. European penalties coming into effect next week will further raise the economic pressure.

The Islamic republic insists its nuclear program is designed solely for peaceful energy and research purposes. The United States and many other countries are not convinced. A breakthrough has proved elusive in three rounds of negotiations since April involving Iran and the leading world powers.

Technical talks resume in Turkey next week, but looming over the entire process is a possible military response from the U.S. or Israel if a compromise isn’t reached soon. In the meantime, Washington and its partners are targeting the oil sector to dry up a main source of revenue for the Iranian government.

TENNESSEE

First lady tells church group to work for change

NASHVILLE | First lady Michelle Obama brought an audience of 10,000 African Methodist Episcopal Church members to their feet as she exhorted them to get involved in the issues that affect their lives.

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