US President Barack Obama 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque )
WASHINGTON – The White House announced tough new sanctions on Iran Monday,
clamping down on the activity of the country’s Central Bank and those who do
business with it.
They are the latest round of sanctions imposed after
President Barack Obama signed legislation at the end of the year that ramped up
US options for using sanctions to pressure the Iranians to stop their nuclear
“I have determined that additional sanctions are warranted,
particularly in light of the deceptive practices of the Central Bank of Iran and
other Iranian banks to conceal transactions of sanctioned parties,” Obama said
in his message informing Congress of the move. He also pointed to the
deficiencies in Iran’s anti-money laundering regime and the weaknesses in its
implementation and the continuing and unacceptable risk posed to the
international financial system by Iran’s activities.
executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said, “This
executive order is the logical next step in the administration’s economic war on
the Iranian regime. It is important because it blocks financial transactions on
behalf of any Iranian government institution.”
Dubowitz has been advising
the administration on sanctions.
The new measures came as Obama
reiterated that the US prefers blocking the Iranian nuclear program through
diplomatic rather than military means.
Asked by NBC Sunday whether Israel
had promised to give advance warning of an attack, Obama declined to reveal the
content of diplomatic conversations but said, “We are going to make sure we work
in lockstep as we proceed to try to solve this, hopefully
Questioned on whether he supported such a strike, Obama
responded, “I don’t think that Israel has made a decision on what they need to
do. I think they, like us, believe that Iran has to stand down on their nuclear
He said that until that happened, he thinks Israel,
rightly, is going to be very concerned, and so is the US.
reiterating that he will not take any options off the table, Obama emphasized
the goal is to resolve this issue diplomatically.
“Any kind of additional
military activity inside the Gulf is disruptive and has a big effect on us. It
could have a big effect on oil prices.
We’ve still got troops in
Afghanistan, which borders Iran.”
As for the threat of Iran attacking the
US homeland, Obama said, “We don’t see any evidence that they have those
intentions or capabilities right now.”
Iran was set to be one of the main
subjects of conversations between Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and
American political leaders Monday and Tuesday.
Lieberman was scheduled to
meet with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and several members of Congress,
including House Majority Leader John Boehner and Sen. John Kerry, chairman of
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, before heading to New York.