US cracks down on Iran's oil tanker company, exposes fronts

July 13, 2012 02:36

WASHINGTON - The United States ramped up pressure on Iran's ability to export oil on Thursday, identifying Tehran's main tanker firm and exposing dozens of its vessels as government-controlled entities.

In the latest set of measures designed to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, the US Treasury identified the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), 58 of its vessels and 27 of its affiliates as extensions of the state, which would undermine Iran's attempts to use renamed, disguised vessels to evade sanctions, the department said.

The identifications, which also included naming what Washington said were four front companies for Iran's state oil enterprise, would help countries and foreign companies comply with Western penalties against Iran.

An Obama administration official said the measures would have some impact on Iran's ability to sell oil. "It will make it that much more difficult for Iran to deceive potential purchasers about the origin of the oil," the official told reporters.

US companies and Americans are already prohibited from doing business with entities controlled by Iran's government.

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