Treasury tightens Iran economic squeeze
The Obama administration on Tuesday announced a further tightening of economic sanctions against Iran, actions intended to pressure Iran over its nuclear program and aid to terrorist groups.
Treasury Department officials added five new companies or institutions and one Iranian businessman to a U.S. blacklist, effectively freezing their U.S. assets and barring American companies from doing business with them. All were linked by U.S. officials to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or to a shipping company used by Iran to smuggle parts for its advanced missiles and nuclear facilities.
The new measures were the latest in a series of moves intended to sharpen the economic pain for Tehran in advance of a new round of nuclear talks late next month. Administration officials say the existing sanctions are having a cascading effect across multiple sectors of Iran's economy, including petroleum production, capital investment and shipping.
"Our policy is to continue to impose pressure on Iran as long as it continues to violate its obligations," said Stuart Levey, Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
One of the firms added to the blacklist on Tuesday was Moallem Insurance Co., an Iranian company that provides maritime insurance for the shipping conglomerate Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, or IRISL. The shipping firm, which is already subject to international sanctions, has been dropped by several major international insurance providers in recent months and has now defaulted on more than half a billion dollars in loans, Treasury officials said.
Also named to the list were the transportation firm Liner Transport Kish and two banks, Ansar Bank and Mehr Bank, all of which were linked by U.S. officials to the Revolutionary Guard Corps; as well as the quasi-governmental financial services organization Bonyad Taavon Sepah and its executive director, Parviz Fattah.
| December 21, 2010; 4:10 PM ET
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