News / Middle East

Obama Imposes New Sanctions on Iran

Cindy Saine
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has announced new sanctions on Iran, just as the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate are preparing to introduce their own legislation.

President Obama has signed an executive order that imposes new sanctions on Iran's energy and petrochemical sectors to prevent the country from getting around existing sanctions.

The deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, Ben Rhodes, said the Obama administration is "sharpening the choice" for the Tehran government.

"Iran has an opportunity through diplomacy to come in line with their international obligations with respect to their nuclear program; however, we have also made it clear that if Iran fails to meet its obligations, we will steadily ratchet up the pressure," Rhodes said.

The United States and several other Western countries have united to impose sanctions on Iran, saying they are concerned that Iran's nuclear program is in reality an effort to develop nuclear weapons.  Iran says that its programs to enrich uranium are solely for civilian purposes.  The International Atomic Energy Agency has also voiced concern about possible military applications of Iran's nuclear program.

The U.S. Treasury Department also announced sanctions Tuesday against two financial institutions, the Bank of Kunlun in China and Elaf Islamic Bank in Iraq, for facilitating transactions for Iranian banks that are already subject to international sanctions.

"Today's action exposes these banks' continued business with designated Iranian banks, and effectively cuts them off from the U.S. financial system," said David Cohen, the under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence with the U.S. Treasury Department.

Cohen said the banks had been helping Tehran to finance its nuclear program and international terrorism.

Senior Obama administration officials rejected suggestions that the international sanctions against Iran are not having a real impact on that country's nuclear program.  National Security official Ben Rhodes says the impact is significant, and will continue to be felt even more severely in Tehran over the coming weeks.

"Frankly, several years ago it was the international community that was divided about how to deal with Iran, whereas the Iranian leadership was very united.  What we see today is not just a unified international community, but you see sharp divisions within the Iranian political system," he said.

The White House sanctions come just as both houses of Congress work to introduce their own sanctions against Iran this week before leaving for a five-week recess.   Some lawmakers have grown impatient and criticized President Obama for not being tough enough on Iran's nuclear ambitions.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: heshukui from: China
August 01, 2012 8:30 AM
God blessing you!

by: MSC from: USA
July 31, 2012 8:58 PM
this vacillations are just unbecoming... Obama, - trying to look tough without risk is UN AMERICAN... irrespective of where you were borne - you are a disgrace to this nation

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs