Obama administration places new sanctions on Iran

Indicating it has no intention of letting up pressure on Tehran, the US puts sanctions on 4 individuals, 5 entities for censorship.

White House 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed)
White House 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed)
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration signaled Thursday that it had no intention of letting up on sanctions pressure against Iran following the reelection of US President Barack Obama.
The United States announced it had sanctioned four individuals and five entities for censorship, including jamming satellite broadcasts and blocking Internet access, in the first foreign policy move since Tuesday’s vote.
Those designated include Tehran’s Communication and Information Technology Minister Reza Taghipour, and its Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
“These actions underscore the administration’s ongoing commitment to hold Iranian government officials and entities responsible for the abuses carried out against their own citizens,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
“With the measures we are taking today, we draw the world’s attention to the scope of the regime’s insidious actions, which oppress its own people and violate Iran’s own laws and international obligations,” she said.
While the Obama administration is indicating that sanctions will continue, it will also likely be making a major overture toward Iran to reinvigorate its diplomatic efforts, according to former White House Iran adviser Dennis Ross.
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“We will see some kind of significant diplomatic initiative by the president, by the Obama administration, on the nuclear issue with the Iranians,” Ross said during an event Thursday at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where he is now a counselor – exploring the implications of Obama’s reelection for US Middle East Policy.
“No president is going to end up using force without having demonstrated unmistakably to the world and the American public that he’s exhausted all the possibilities for diplomatic negotiations,” Ross said.
There has been speculation that America, which has so far been holding talks with Iran as part of the P5+1 framework that also includes Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, would hold direct talks with Tehran.
But some Iranian officials, reacting to Obama’s reelection on Tuesday, said that negotiations in the face of increasingly tightened sanctions would be unlikely to make progress.
“After all this pressure and crimes against the people of Iran, relations with America cannot be possible overnight and Americans should not think they can hold our nation ransom by coming to the negotiating table,” Sadeq Larijani, head of the Iranian judiciary, was quoted as saying by IRNA news agency.
“Four years ago, Obama... announced he would extend the hand of cooperation to Iran,” he said. “But he pursued a different path and imposed unprecedented sanctions and it is natural the Iranian people will never forget such crimes.”
Reuters contributed to this report.