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Top 4 Political Stories of the Day

The Iranian deputy foreign minister has condemned Britain over extending the period of sanctions on Iranian individuals as "politically-motivated and biased." "The sanctions are unilateral, biased, politically-motivated and totally unacceptable," Xinhua quoted deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht-e-Ravanchi as saying as British treasury renewed sanctions against 15 current and former Iranian officials under the pretext of violating human rights. Departing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who took withering criticism over the botched rollout of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, is considering a run for the U.S. Senate in Kansas, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. Sebelius, a former Kansas governor, is weighing overtures from Democrats who want her to run for the Senate seat occupied by Republican Pat Roberts, the newspaper said, quoting unidentified Democrats. Sebelius, who announced her resignation last week, is staying on the job until her successor, White House budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell, is confirmed by the Senate. Groups supporting Senators Rand Paul and Marco Rubio lead the pack of potential Republican presidential candidates in spending money and investing in possible campaigns this year, more than 20 months before the first votes are cast in 2016. No politician has yet declared his or her candidacy, but first-quarter fundraising numbers submitted to the Federal Election Commission and released this week show backers of Rubio and Paul spent several hundred thousand dollars to help both senators in the first three months of 2014. The Pakistani Taliban have formally ended a 40-day ceasefire but are still open to talks with the government, a spokesman said on Wednesday. Shahidullah Shahid said the insurgents were not extending the ceasefire, which began on March 1, because the government had continued to arrest people and had killed more than 50 people associated with them. "However, the talks will continue with sincerity and seriousness and in case there is clear progress from the government side, the Taliban will not hesitate to take a serious step," Shahid said in a statement.

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