Tuesday, September 29, 2009

US Eyes Energy, Financial Sanctions on I.R. Iran

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The Obama administration is planning to push for new sanctions against Iran, targeting its energy, financial and telecommunications sectors if it does not comply with international demands to come clean about its nuclear program, according to U.S. officials. The officials said the U.S. would expand its own penalties against Iranian companies and press for greater international sanctions against foreign firms, largely European, that do business in the country unless Iran can prove that its nuclear activities are not aimed at developing an atomic weapon. Among the ideas being considered are asset freezes and travel bans against Iranian and foreign businesses and individuals who do business in those areas, the officials said. The officials spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because the measures were still under review. As the White House mulls its next move, Iran continued Tuesday to defiantly tout its most recent play in the diplomatic chess game over its weapons program.

Iran tested its longest-range missiles Monday and warned on Tuesday that they can reach any place that threatens the country, including Israel, parts of Europe and U.S. military bases in the Mideast. The launch capped two days of war games and was condemned as a provocation by Western powers, which are demanding Tehran come clean about a newly revealed nuclear facility it has been secretly building. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said there has never been a stronger international consensus to get tough on Iran's nuclear program, reports CBS News correspondent Bob Fuss. Western nations accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons, while Iran says it only seeks to create fuel for nuclear power plants. Diplomats from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - as well as Germany meet with Iran's top nuclear negotiator on Thursday to press once again an offer of incentives for Iran to halt suspect activity. (Read more...)