Fri Nov 13, 2009 10:39am EST

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran must continue its struggle against the United States, a hardline cleric said on Friday a day after Washington renewed long-standing U.S. financial sanctions against Iran.

U.S. President Barack Obama offered a new approach toward Iran when he took office in January, but Iran remains locked in dispute with Washington and other world powers over its nuclear energy program.

The West suspects Iran’s nuclear work aims in part to allow it to acquire atomic weapons. Tehran denies the charge.

Iran has also accused Washington and other Western countries of fomenting protests that erupted after a presidential election in June which opposition candidates say was fraudulent.

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