President Obama announces new U.S. sanctions on Iran
President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced new U.S. sanctions targeting Iran’s oil as well as banks in China and Iraq, warning that Tehran faces “growing consequences” for refusing to answer international questions about its nuclear program. Obama said China’s Bank of Kunlun and the Elaf Islamic Bank in Iraq “facilitated transactions worth millions of dollars” for Iranian banks already under sanctions.
In a statement issued by the White House, the president said, “By cutting off these financial institutions from the United States, today’s action makes it clear that we will expose any financial institution, no matter where they are located, that allows the increasingly desperate Iranian regime to retain access to the international financial system.” Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, spoke with reporters on Tuesday and said the purpose of additional sanctions was to “affect Iran’s calculus” to get Tehran to negotiate seriously over its disputed nuclear program. The U.S. will continue to “look for ways to increase the impact” of sanctions on Iran, Rhodes said, “It’s only going to get worse for the Iranian government.”