White House freezes all Iranian assets to tighten sanctions

06 February 2012 23:13  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The White House on Monday froze all assets of the Iranian government and financial institutions in the US in a move to further tighten sanctions against the Tehran government over its alleged nuclear weapons programme.

The US Treasury Department said that it was putting into force on Monday an executive order signed by President Barack Obama on Sunday “in furtherance of the administration’s Iran sanctions programme”.

The executive order essentially locks up any financial and property assets of the government of Iran and affiliated entities that may be in the US or within the control of US persons at home or abroad.

The department said that the new action emphasises to the Tehran government that “it will face ever-increasing economic and diplomatic pressure until it addresses the international community’s well-founded and well-documented concerns regarding the nature of its nuclear programme”.

The executive order “blocks all property and interests in property of the Government of Iran, the Central Bank of Iran and all Iranian financial institutions,” the department said, regardless of whether the financial institution is part of the Iranian government.

The department did not specify what assets Iran or its financial institutions may have in the US.

Under an earlier round of sanctions aimed at Tehran, in late November the White House said it would deny all US government transactions with any foreign bank or other entity that does business with the Iranian central bank or with Iran’s energy and petrochemical industries.

Those sanctions and the additional measures announced on Monday are designed to starve Iran’s energy industry of cash flow and thus dry up funding for Tehran’s nuclear programme.

In response to these and other US and international measures to isolate it and reduce its oil revenues, various Tehran government officials have threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, through which most Middle East oil exports must transit.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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