1 Aug 2012

More sanctions announced against Iran

9:34 am on 1 August 2012

US President Barack Obama has ordered new economic sanctions against Iran's energy sector and some financial firms.

The move is to stop Iran from setting up payment mechanisms for the purchase of oil to get round existing sanctions.

Mr Obama said the United States remained committed to reaching a diplomatic solution on Iran, but that the onus was on Tehran to meet its international obligations.

The BBC reports the sanctions come amid ongoing concern over Iran's nuclear programme, which Tehran denies is to develop weapons.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Mr Obama said existing sanctions on Iran's oil industry had been expanded "by making sanctionable the purchase or acquisition of Iranian petrochemical products".

He added that measures would be taken against firms that have dealings with the National Iranian Oil Company, the Naftiran Intertrade Company or the Central Bank of Iran, or that help Iran buy US dollars or precious metals.

The new sanctions also targeted China's Bank of Kunlun and Iraq's Elaf Islamic Bank as institutions that "knowingly enable financial transactions for designated Iranian banks".