Monkeypox? Climate? Deciding what’s a national emergency

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In November 1979, a little over a week after student militants seized control of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took 52 American citizens hostage, President Jimmy Carter issued Executive Order 12170 declaring a national emergency against Iran.

That order remains in effect today, renewed most recently in the weeks before last Thanksgiving by President Joe Biden, who noted then that “our relations with Iran have not yet normalized.”

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