The White House Tuesday announced steps to strengthen sanctions on Iran for failing to meet its international obligations. "First, I have approved a new Executive Order that imposes new sanctions against the Iranian energy and petrochemical sectors," U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement. "This action is designed to deter Iran from establishing payment mechanisms for the purchase of Iranian oil to circumvent existing sanctions, and utilizes the existing structure of our sanctions law, including exceptions for significant reductions in the purchase of Iranian oil. Additionally, existing sanctions on Iran's petrochemical industry are expanded by making sanctionable the purchase or acquisition of Iranian petrochemical products. ...
"Second, we have also taken a significant step to hold responsible institutions that knowingly enable financial transactions for designated Iranian banks. The Department of the Treasury today imposed sanctions on Bank of Kunlun in China and Elaf Islamic Bank in Iraq under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010."
Obama said the two banks have handled millions of dollars in transactions for Iranian banks subject to sanctions.
"By cutting off these financial institutions from the United States, today's action makes it clear that we will expose any financial institution, no matter where they are located, that allows the increasingly desperate Iranian regime to retain access to the international financial system," he said.
"Since taking office, we have presented the Iranian government with a clear choice: Come in line with your international obligations and rejoin the community of nations, or face growing consequences. With these actions, we are once again reaffirming our commitment to hold the Iranian government accountable for its actions."
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