US sanctions companies tied to Iran's nuclear program

WASHINGTON - The United States stepped up pressure on Iran on Thursday over its nuclear program, imposing sanctions on seven companies and five individuals that it said provided support to the program.
The Treasury Department said the action would bar those companies and individuals from doing business with US firms or citizens, and freeze any assets they have in the United States.
Foreign banks that handle transactions for the companies and individuals could also lose their access to the US banking system under the US sanctions regime.
"The US will target those involved in Iran's illicit enrichment activities. The entire world has made it clear that these activities are unacceptable," Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen said in a statement.
The United States has said Tehran's nuclear program is aimed at acquiring atomic weapons, a charge Iran has repeatedly denied.
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