US President Barack Obama smile 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)
BOSTON – The US sanctioned three foreign companies doing business with Iran’s
energy sector on Thursday.
The move follows additional tough sanctions
the White House recently put in place against Iran, in an effort to convince the
leadership in Tehran to abandon its nuclear program.
The firms, Zhenrong
Company from China, Kuo Oil from Singapore and FAL Oil Company Limited from the
United Arab Emirates, will no longer be able to receive US export licenses, US
Export Import Bank financing or loans over $10 million from US financial
The companies were sanctioned under the Comprehensive Iran
Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act, a measure that the administration
has historically been reluctant to utilize for fear that it would alienate other
“The United States is working with international partners to
maintain pressure on the government of Iran to comply with its international
nuclear obligations,” the State Department said in a statement detailing the
sanctions. “The sanctions announced today are an important step toward that
goal, as they target the individual companies that help Iran evade these
Japan on Thursday pledged to take concrete action to cut its
oil imports from Iran in response to an appeal for support from visiting US
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
Finance Minister Jun Azumi said
Japan bought 10 percent of its oil from Iran.
“We would like to take
action concretely to further reduce in a planned manner,” he said.
added: “It would cause immense damage if they were cut to zero.”
Thursday evening, US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu spoke by telephone at length about Iran, as well as about the recent
effort by Jordan to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
The two men
discussed “recent Iran-related developments, including the international
community’s efforts to hold Iran accountable for its failures to meet its
international obligations,” according to a White House statement. The statement
did not specify which developments were addressed.
On Wednesday, another
Iranian nuclear scientist was assassinated in an attack Tehran blamed on Israel
and the US, an accusation to which Washington offered an usually strong
Iran recently threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz and
increased enrichment activities despite strong condemnation by the international
community, UN sanctions and a reduction of oil imports from Iran by major
Obama and Netanyahu reviewed the recent meetings
between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Amman, according to a statement
put out by the White House. Next week King Abdullah of Jordan is scheduled to
Obama lauded the Jordanian monarch for his efforts in
bringing Israeli and Palestinian officials to the table.
contributed to this report.