US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)
WASHINGTON - The United States on Monday applauded Europe's decision to slap new sanctions on Iran and said the United States and its international partners were committed to preventing Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
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"Taken in combination with the many other sanctions on Iran that continue to be implemented by the United States and the international community, this new, concerted pressure will sharpen the choice for Iran's leaders and increase their cost of defiance of basic international obligations," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in a joint statement.
Europe's plan to ban imports of Iranian crude oil and freeze the assets of Iran's central bank help align the European Union with US sanctions policy.
The EU measures are "another strong step in the international effort to dramatically increase the pressure on Iran," Clinton and Geithner said in the statement.
"Iran has refused to address the international community's serious and well-founded concerns about its nuclear program," they added.
The United States is currently working to implement sanctions approved by Congress last month banning countries and their institutions from dealing with the Iranian central bank - the main conduit for Iran's oil revenue.
On Monday, the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Iran's third largest bank, making it harder for Tehran to access the world's financial system.
Iran's Bank Tejarat, and an affiliate Trade Capital Bank, were blacklisted for providing financial services to other entities already sanctioned for their involvement with the country's nuclear weapons program, the US said.