WASHINGTON – The Obama administration slapped new sanctions on Iran’s shipping
industry Wednesday, including on engineering and maritime companies.
new bans apply to companies with ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp,
which the US sees as playing a central role in Iran’s nuclear program, terror
activities and human rights violations.
“By designating the individuals
and entities today, the Treasury is sending a clear signal to the international
community that Iran’s attempts to evade international sanctions will not go
unnoticed,” Adam Szubin, director of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets
Control, said in a released statement.
The move comes on top of sanctions
imposed Tuesday on an Iranian air carrier believed to be bringing arms to Syria
for use by President Bashar Assad against rebels trying to remove him from
In addition to the sanctions being implemented by the Treasury
and the rest of the executive branch, many members in the US Congress are trying
to pass legislation to grant the administration further sanctioning authority
and close loopholes that exist under current law.
That effort suffered a
setback Tuesday, however, when Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky
prevented a new sanctions bill from being approved by the Senate by unanimous
The bill, which has significant bipartisan support, focuses on
foreign banks that handle transactions for Iran’s national oil and tanker
companies as well as existing loopholes.
Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid wanted to move the bill without considering amendments, which he said could
drag out the process.
But Rand refused to let the bill advance without
considering his amendment that nothing in the bill could be construed as an
authorization of war against Iran or Syria.
In addition, several other
Republicans wanted to offer amendments toughening the language.
has already passed its own version of the bill, and it’s not clear what avenue
Reid will now take to further the legislation.
In the meantime, the steps
being taken by the administration against Iran have been welcomed by several
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida), the chair of the House Foreign
Affairs Committee, commended the Treasury on the new sanctions, but said more
must be done, particularly given “Iran’s willingness to arm the Assad regime as
it brutally suppresses the Syrian people.”
She continued, “Sanctions must
get much tougher, and fast, to be as effective as we need them to be.” Reuters
contributed to this report.