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Middle East

US steps up sanctions on Iran over nuclear program

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (L) holds a bilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) on the second straight day of talks over Tehran's nuclear program in Vienna, July 14, 2014. (REUTERS/Jim Bourg)

WASHINGTON: The United States imposed new sanctions Friday on networks linked to Iran, stepping up pressure over Tehran's controversial nuclear program.

The Treasury Department said the sanctions target individuals and entities under Iran-related authorities that are involved in Iran's missile and nuclear programs, efforts to evade international sanctions and support for terrorism.

The White House's National Security Council said that despite the additional measures, the U.S. remained committed to working with its partners in seeking an international deal with Tehran over its controversial pursuit of atomic power.

"Just as we announced these measures and continue to enforce pre-existing sanctions on Iran, the United States remains committed to working with our P5+1 partners toward a long-term, comprehensive solution that provides confidence that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively peaceful," said Caitlin Hayden, NSC spokeswoman.

The P5+1 group - Britain, China, France, Germany, the United States, plus Russia - last month extended to November 24 an interim agreement under which Iran suspended part of its nuclear activities in return for a partial lifting of international sanctions, to allow more time to negotiate a final accord.

Tehran denies that it wants to make nuclear weapons and the sides remain split on how much uranium enrichment Iran should be allowed to carry out.

The Treasury's new sanctions targets include shipping and oil companies, banks and an airline.

"Treasury's action against over 25 entities and individuals - who are involved in expanding Iran's proliferation program, supporting terrorism in the region, and helping Iran evade U.S. and international sanctions - reflects our continuing determination to take action against anyone, anywhere, who violates our sanctions," said David Cohen, the Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

 

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