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Michele Kelemen

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The White House is tightening a decades-old embargo on Cuba but delaying for another month a decision that could put foreign companies invested on the island in legal jeopardy.

Title III of the 1996 Helms-Burton (Libertad) Act would let Americans — including Cubans who have since become U.S. citizens — sue companies that "traffic" in property confiscated by Cuba after the country's 1959 communist revolution.

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The State Department on Thursday ordered employees to return to work next week, despite the partial government shutdown, saying it would figure out how to cover the next paycheck.

In a note posted on its website and emailed to staff, the department said it "is taking steps to make additional funds available to pay employee salaries."

If the shutdown continues beyond the next pay period, State Department officials say they will have to work with Congress to reprogram funds in order to cover salaries.

Updated on Friday at 2:44 p.m. ET.

From Fox & Friends to the State Department, and now likely to the United Nations.

President Trump says he will nominate Heather Nauert, the State Department spokeswoman and a former Fox News host, to become the next ambassador to the U.N.

"She's very talented, very smart, very quick, and I think she's going to be respected by all, so Heather Nauert will be nominated for the ambassador to the United Nations," Trump told reporters Friday.

Former UNICEF official Baquer Namazi was detained in Iran nearly three years ago. His son is urging Tehran to let his 82-year-old father leave the country for medical treatment. Namazi is one of several Americans held in Iran.

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Zalmay Khalilzad, who served as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq and as U.N. ambassador during the administration of President George W. Bush, has been named President Trump's special adviser to Afghanistan. His job will be to try to bring the Afghan government and the Taliban to a reconciliation.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed the appointment on Tuesday.

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Now that the Trump administration has pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, it is reimposing sanctions that had been lifted under the deal starting at midnight. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

Updated on Tuesday at 8:13 a.m. ET

When President Trump warned Iran over Twitter on Sunday night about severe consequences for any threats toward the United States, it did not just come out of the blue.

Speaking to reporters on Monday about the president's all-caps threat, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said that Trump's language has been "pretty strong" toward Iran all along.

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Updated at 8:08 p.m. ET

President Trump has chosen John Bolton, a hawk on North Korea and Iran, to be his next national security adviser.

The appointment comes just as those two foreign policy challenges come to a head.

Bolton replaces H.R. McMaster, who Trump said Thursday via Twitter is leaving the administration. Bolton takes over from McMaster effective April 9, the president also said.

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