Obama signs 'tough' unilateral sanctions on Iran

Obama signed into law the toughest ever US sanctions on Iran, which he said would strike at Tehran's capacity to finance its nuclear program and deepen its isolation.

Obama signs 'tough' unilateral sanctions on Iran

President Barack Obama signed into law the toughest ever US sanctions on Iran, which he said would strike at Tehran's capacity to finance its nuclear program and deepen its isolation.

Obama said the new sanctions were the toughest ever passed by the U.S. Congress and would make it harder for Iran to buy refined petroleum as well as goods and services to modernize its oil and natural gas sector, the mainstay of its economy.

While the door to diplomacy remained open, he said, Iran would come under even greater international pressure if it continued to defy international calls to halt its uranium enrichment program.

"There should be no doubt -- the United States and the international community are determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons," Obama said at the signing of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act at the White House.

The new U.S. sanctions go much further than the measures agreed to by the U.N. Security Council in June.

The U.S. sanctions penalize companies supplying Iran with gasoline and international banking institutions involved with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or its nuclear program.

Foreign banks that do business with key Iranian banks or the Revolutionary Guards will not be allowed access to the U.S. financial system. Global suppliers of gasoline to Iran could also face bans on access to the U.S. banking system, property transactions and foreign exchange in the United States.

Turkey and Brazil successfully brokered a deal with Iran on nuclear talks. And Turkey and Brazil voted against the resolution at the United Nations Security Council, the first time a sanctions vote on Iran has failed to pass unanimously.

With the agreement, Iran committed to give the 1200kg of 3.5% enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for 20% enriched uranium it will receive from Western countries to be used as fuel in the nuclear research reactor in Tehran.

Tehran will receive the enriched uranium from the Vienna Group, comprising of the U.S., France, Russia and International Atomic Energy Agency, in Turkey.

"Striking at Iran's heart"

"With these sanctions -- along with others -- we are striking at the heart of the Iranian government's ability to fund and develop its nuclear programs," Obama said. "We are showing the Iranian government that its actions have consequences."

The new sanctions are designed to hurt Iran where it is most vulnerable -- it's energy sector. The world's fifth-largest oil producer lacks sufficient refining capacity and imports up to 40 percent of its gasoline needs.

Recognizing its vulnerability, Iran has drawn up plans to become self-sufficient in gasoline output within two years while reducing domestic demand, partly through phasing out government subsidies.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has dismissed the threat of sanctions, saying Iran could be self-sufficient in gasoline "within one week" if necessary.

Turkey often calls for "fair" stance from global powers before UN vote.

Israel, most experts estimate that it has at least between 100 and 200 nuclear warheads, often threatens the Islamic republic with an attack.

Israel recently refused US and international calls to sign Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and open its facilities for IAEA perusal.


Related news reports:

Turkey's FM rejects "inaction" over Iran amid threats

US imposes new sanctions on Iran

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Temmuz 2010, 12:04