News / USA

White House Welcomes Tightened EU Sanctions on Iran, Syria

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (file photo)
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (file photo)

The White House on Thursday welcomed new steps by the European Union to tighten sanctions on Iran and Syria.

The latest steps by the EU expand the list of members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps banned from doing business with EU countries, or receiving visas to travel there.

They stop short of any decision to halt oil purchases from Iran to further increase pressure over Tehran's nuclear program or its policies in the region, despite expectations that this week's mob attack on Britain's embassy in Iran would prompt stronger steps.

The White House issued a statement welcoming the EU action, as well as new steps against 12 officials and 11 entities in Syria, where the United Nations says more than 4,000 people have died in government crackdowns on protesters.

"We welcome today’s announcement by the European Union of new economic sanctions and other measures against both Iran and Syria.     The United States recently increased our own sanctions on Iran, and today announced additional actions against Syrian officials and entities," said Press Secretary Jay Carney.

The wording of Thursday's statement was notable in that it reflects the Obama administration approach of more frequently coupling Iranian actions with the situation in Syria.  

It spoke of a commitment to work together on "shared challenges" and coordination to increrase pressure on Iran and Syria to "ensure that their flagrant violations of international norms comes to an end."

The U.S. has said President Bashar al-Assad has "lost legitimacy" and should end all government-sanctioned violence against demonstrators and help pave the way for a democratic transition for the Syrian people.

Carney was asked by one reporter if a key objective of Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Turkey was to ask for more help from the government in Ankara on Iran.

The president's spokesman had no immediate response on that, but repeated a largely unchanged U.S. statement about Washington's overall positive assessment of international cooperation aimed at pressuring Tehran.

"Broadly on Iran, we have been very focused on and pleased by the international consensus that has been developed over these several years to sanction Iran, to pressure and isolate Iran, and that continues today," Carney said.

During a U.S. Senate hearing Thursday, the Obama administration came under additional pressure from lawmakers who believe the U.S. needs to take stronger steps against Iran.

Treasury and State Department officials told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the administration is committed to putting "sustained pressure" on Iran, but multilateral measures need to be a priority now.  

David Cohen, Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said a bipartisan amendment to ban U.S. companies from doing business with any foreign financial institution connected with Iran's central bank could harm international coordination aimed at stepping up pressure on Tehran.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs