US slaps more sanctions on Iran

It will hit 50 plus entities linked to Tehrans trade

Seeking to plug loopholes in its sanctions against Iran, the US has slapped additional sanctions on over 50 entities and people linked to Tehran's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

The Treasury and State Department said the actions target more than 50 entities tied to Iran's procurement, petroleum and shipping networks.

"The US is imposing additional sanctions on Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile proliferation networks, and is also taking additional steps to prevent the evasion of sanctions by publicly identifying a group of Iranian front companies and banks," the State Department said.
"These actions are part of the United States government's dual-track approach of increasing pressure to convince Iran to engage seriously and address the international community's concerns about its nuclear programme.

"Today's actions are the next step on that path, taking direct aim at disrupting Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, as well as its deceptive efforts to use front companies to sell and move its oil," David S Cohen, the undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.

The Obama administration also identified a web of front companies that it says the Iranian government uses to try to evade American and European restrictions on its oil exports. Among the companies designated by the Treasury are Electronic Components Industries and Information Systems Iran, which are subsidiaries of an entity that is, in turn, controlled by the Iranian Ministry of Defence. Also on the blacklist are four men — three Iranians and an Austrian — that the Treasury Department said support Iran's nuclear and missile programmes.

Under the sanctions, Americans are barred from doing business with these individuals, and any assets they have under American jurisdictions are frozen.

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Iran is just two years away from acquiring atomic weapons, even as British spies foiled Tehran's plan to go nuclear as early as 2008, British intelligence chief has said in London.
John Sawers, the MI6 chief said that it was now likely they would achieve their goal by 2014, making a military strike from the US and Israel increasingly likely, the Daily Telegraph reported. Sawers gave a secret briefing to the Cabinet in March about Iran's growing military threat but this is the first time his views on the issue have been made public.

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