Obama Administration Imposes New Iran Sanctions on 11 Companies
The US Treasury Department announced yesterday that brand new sanctions on companies allegedly assisting Iran’s nuclear program would be implemented. It is the latest move by the US government to impose economic pain on Iran to coerce them into giving up their nuclear program.
Jim Lobe of Inter Press Service has the story:
The Treasury Department said it was blacklisting 11 companies and several individuals associated with Iran’s defence ministry, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as well as Iran’s national shipping line.
It also blacklisted several companies in Hong Kong, Switzerland and Malaysia, as well as the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), which the treasury alleged have been used by the national oil company to evade existing sanctions against Iranian oil experts.
“Iran today is under intense, multilateral sanctions pressure, and we will continue to ratchet up the pressure so long as Iran refuses to address the international community’s well-founded questions about its nuclear programme,” said treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence David Cohen.
“Today’s actions are the next step on that path, taking direct aim at disrupting Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, as well as its deceptive efforts to use front companies to sell and move its oil,” he added.
But the new sanctions also come in the midst of diplomatic talks between Western powers and Iran over the country’s nuclear energy program. While the US has promoted the sanctions and diplomacy strategy as a “two-track” approach, the sanctions anger Iranian negotiators and could scuttle diplomacy. A key demand of Iran in the negotiations has been to lift the sanctions in return for core Iranian concessions.
Lobe spoke to Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, who told him: “The question is how much escalation can be tolerated before the whole diplomatic process falls apart, and, if it falls apart, what comes next.”
The fear is that a US or Israeli military strike comes next--unleashing a catastrophic war affecting the whole Middle East.