Entries in Sanctions (49)


White House Hits Iran with New Round of Sanctions

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In the continuing effort to get Tehran to give up its rogue nuclear ambitions, the White House on Wednesday broadened already punishing sanctions against the Iranian government that now include zeroing in on its state broadcasting authority.

This new penalty is an explicit attempt by the Obama administration to affect Iran's cracking down on dissenters calling for democratic reforms in the theocratic-run nation.

Along with blacklisting the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, which controls all TV and radio broadcasts, the administration also targeted the Iranian Cyber Police and the Communications Regulatory Authority.  Both agencies monitor and suppress Internet content deemed seditious to the government.

Under the new sanctions, the U.S. can impound property owned by targeted agencies and their officials and halt transactions they attempt with Americans.

The action comes on top of the Treasury Department further enforcing a 2012 law that curtails Iran's ability to profit from sales of its oil.  Exports already are down by half because of an international embargo that began last year.

Iran's economy has slumped badly due to the various rounds of sanctions although Tehran is still adamant about pursing its nuclear goals that leaders insist are purely for peaceful purposes.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Iranian Oil Exports Continue to Fall

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- There is further evidence that financial sanctions and an embargo on Iranian oil imposed by the U.S. and the European Union are having a crippling effect on Iran’s economy.  The sanctions were imposed to compel Tehran to negotiate its nuclear program.

A report released by the International Energy Agency shows Iranian exported 1.3 million barrels per day in October, down from an average of 2.3 million barrels per day last year.

According to The Telegraph, the decline represents a daily revenue loss of $109 million at the current price of oil.  That adds up to $33 billion in losses so far this year.  That $33 billion represents approximately 30 percent of Tehran’s government’s budget for 2012/2013.

The drop in oil exports is a direct result of the embargo and financial sanctions that make it harder for Iran to insure its tankers and get paid for oil sales.

In addition to falling oil exports, the country’s oil production total has also dropped dramatically.  This past June, Iran was the second-biggest oil producer in OPEC, behind Saudi Arabia.  In October, it fell to fourth place, behind Iraq and Kuwait, and continues to fall.

The loss of oil revenue has forced Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to slash government subsidies on a number of everyday essentials, including food and cheap gas prices for Iranian citizens.

Iran’s parliament was scheduled to discuss the subject of subsidy reform on Tuesday but delayed the discussion until March 2013.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Iranian Supreme Leader Accuses West of 'Bullying'

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Day to day, Iran's economy grows weaker because of sanctions imposed by the West meant to bring Tehran back to the bargaining table about possibly suspending its rogue nuclear program.

However, even a decision by the European Union earlier in the week to toughen the penalties hasn't dimmed Iran's resolve to keep enriching uranium, a key step to developing nuclear weapons.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said as much during a fiery speech Tuesday on Iranian state TV.

Khamenei told Iranians that their country's enemies keep "saying pressure against Iran is aimed at forcing the Islamic republic to return to the negotiating table" about the nuclear program.

However, the ayatollah alleged "Their real objective is (forcing) the Iranian nation to surrender to their bullying at the negotiating table."

Khamenei said the U.S., Israel and the West would ultimately fail "to bring Iran to its knees."

Meanwhile, Iran's currency has been devalued so much that citizens need large wads of cash to make the smallest purchases.  On top of that, Iranian banking authorities may no longer be able to print enough money.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


European Union Boosts Sanctions on Iran

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The financial noose keeps tightening around Iran's neck.

Already suffering economically because of severe sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the West over the refusal to abandon its rogue nuclear program, Tehran will also have to deal with even stricter penalties agreed upon by the European Union Monday.

European foreign ministers said that along with the current oil embargo and freezing of Iranian assets in oversea banks, the EU would initiate further curbs on trade with Iran and on its finance, energy and transport industries.

What the EU hopes to do is close any remaining loopholes in the existing sanctions.

British Foreign Minister William Hague said, "We will continue to do all we can to increase the peaceful pressure on Iran to change course and to return to talks ready to reach a negotiated solution by addressing the world’s concerns."

Iran has repeatedly walked away from talks with six nations about freezing its uranium enrichment process, a key step to developing nuclear weapons.  Tehran insists its atomic power is for peaceful purposes, a claim doubted by the West.

Israel says Tehran is close to creating a nuclear bomb and has made its intent known about a preemptive military strike to take out Iran's facilities.  However, Israeli leadership has admitted the tough sanctions appear to be crippling Iran's economy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Israel Official Says Iranian Economy Near 'Collapse'

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) -- A top Israeli government official believes Iran's economy is "on the verge of collapse" because of sanctions imposed by the international community.

Comments made by Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz to Israel Radio echo an Israeli Foreign Ministry report from last week that penalties imposed by the U.S. and the West to punish Iran for its rogue nuclear program are causing the public to complain about soaring costs of everyday items.

Due to the sanctions, Iran's currency has slumped 57 percent since June 2011, which has also led to a sharp increase in the price of imports.

The dire state of the Iranian economy hasn't forced its government to change policy yet or relent on continuing enrichment of uranium, a key step to developing nuclear weapons even as Tehran insists its program is for peaceful purposes.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has warned that Iran is dangerously close to producing an atomic weapon, says that the sanctions are having some effect although they haven't deterred Iran from giving up its nuclear ambitions.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Moscow Fearful of US Sanctions Against Iran Hurting Russia

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- Moscow declared Monday that it won't be happy with Washington if crippling sanctions against Iran also affect Russian businesses.

Sanctions were imposed several years ago to force Iran into abandoning its rogue nuclear program, although Tehran has persisted in enriching uranium, a crucial step to developing atomic weapons.

Two weeks ago, Congress built on an oil trade sanction imposed last year meant to penalize banks, insurance companies and shippers that assist Iran in its oil sales.

This is apparently hitting too close to home for Russia as the Foreign Ministry said in a sharply-worded statement, "We consider efforts to...impose internal American legislation on the entire world completely unacceptable.  We reject methods of overt blackmail that the United States resorts to in relation to the companies and banks of other countries."

Furthermore, Moscow warned that relations between it and Washington will "suffer seriously if Russian operators...come under the effects of the American restrictions."

Since Iran is a close ally, this could potentially turn into another bitter disagreement between the two countries, which are already at odds over how to deal with the 18-month-long crisis in Syria and accusations by President Vladimir Putin of the U.S. interfering in its internal affairs.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Targets Hezbollah, Iran in New Syria Sanctions

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Treasury Department has announced new sanctions targeting the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and its supporters, including Hezbollah -- saying the group, which was already a designated terrorist organization, is playing an “integral role in the continued violence the Assad regime is inflicting on the Syrian population.”

Iran is also named as being an actor is supporting Assad by providing support to Hezbollah to train Syrian government troops and pro-Assad militias.

The U.S. State Department also announced that new sanctions will be imposed on Syria's state-run oil company, Sytrol, for having provided gasoline to Iran.

"Though these sanctions are a direct result of Syria's provision of gasoline to Iran, the United States views Iran's broader support for the Assad regime as completely unjustifiable," department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said in a written statement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Report: Oil Embargo Is Killing Iran's Economy

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The White House is right in its contention that sanctions against Iran to convince Tehran to give up its nuclear program is at least hurting the country economically, an analysis by Bloomberg shows.

Since international sanctions that ban the purchase and transport of Iranian oil started one month ago, Iran has lost an estimated $133 million in oil sales per day.

Overall, its oil exports have fallen more than 50 percent to 1.2 million barrels a day.  Should the boycott last an entire year, Iran stands to lose $48 billion or about 10 percent of its entire economy.

More advantageous for the White House, especially because it's an election year, is that the oil embargo is not affecting gasoline prices at home.

That's in a large part due to increased shipments by the Saudis, more domestic output and a slowdown in the global economy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US and Israel at Odds over Effectiveness of Iran Sanctions

GALI TIBBON/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- The White House pushed back a bit Wednesday from comments made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the effectiveness of economic sanctions on Iran to stop it from developing nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu maintains that the penalties imposed on Iran by the U.S. and the international community have not slowed down its nuclear program "one iota."

With Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Israel for talks, the prime minister said Wednesday that while the sanctions have affected Iran's economy, "it is also true that neither sanctions nor diplomacy have yet had any impact on Iran’s nuclear weapons program."

Asked about the statements at his daily press briefly, press secretary Jay Carney acknowledged that Netanyahu was correct in saying that Iran has not made the choice "to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions."

However, Carney repeated President Obama's contention that targeting Tehran's finances and oil industry has had "a significant effect on the Iranian economy," which the White House hopes will convince Iran that it must reconsider moving ahead with its nuclear agenda.

On Wednesday night, both the House and Senate approved new sanctions against Iran, targeting the country’s oil exports through banking and insurance.

"This legislation expands our existing sanctions on Iran’s energy sector, and imposes new sanctions targeting shipping and insurance.  Iran continues to try to evade existing sanctions.  But this legislation, in combination with newly announced measures by the Obama administration, closes loopholes and stops the use of front companies, or financial institutions to get around international sanctions," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a statement after the vote.

Earlier in the day, Panetta sought to ease tensions between the U.S. and Israel by issuing a stern warning to Iran, telling reporters in Jerusalem that Iran "can either negotiate in a way that tries to resolve these issues and has them abiding by international rules and requirements and giving up their effort to develop their nuclear capability.  But if they don't, and if they continue to make the decision to proceed with a nuclear weapon...we have options that we are prepared to implement to ensure that does not happen."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


House Passes New Sanctions Against Iran  

iStockphoto/ThinkstockUPDATE: By unanimous consent, the Senate passed the new sanctions on Iran Wednesday night without amendments or changes to the House-passed legislation.  The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.

(WASHINGTON) -- In an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, the House approved new sanctions against Iran, 421-6, targeting the country’s oil exports through banking and insurance.
Congressional leaders say the legislation will expand the president’s authorities, "to apply additional and even tougher sanctions targeting the financial and energy institutions that support Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, its nuclear program, and its support for terrorism."
"By closing loopholes in the existing sanctions regime, this measure will tighten the economic noose and authorize dramatic new sanctions on Iran's energy sector," Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., wrote in a statement. "America and our allies must send a strong message to Tehran that it will face unrelenting pressure until it ends its pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability and its sponsorship of terror and instability."
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi called the vote a sign of America’s “unwavering resolve and unyielding commitment to deter Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon.”
“The House again made it clear that the United States will use every tool at our disposal to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” Pelosi, D-Calif., wrote in a statement following the vote. "With overwhelming bipartisan support, our action keeps up the pressure on the Iranian regime -- to halt its pursuit of a nuclear capability, to suspend uranium enrichment, to return to the negotiating table and honor its international obligations."
The measure now heads to the Senate.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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