U.S. Tightens Iran Sanctions

By Corbett B. Daly | August 4, 2010

The United States Tuesday took steps to make it harder for Iran to skirt trade sanctions aimed at preventing nuclear proliferation, naming nearly two dozen firms in six countries as controlled by the Iranian government.

U.S. law prohibits American citizens from doing business with the government of Iran and the Obama administration named the firms to mitigate the risk that such entities pose to legitimate transactions.

“As its isolation from the international financial and commercial systems increases, the government of Iran will continue efforts to evade sanctions, including using government-owned entities around the world that are not easily identifiable as Iranian to facilitate transactions in support of their illicit activities,” said Stuart Levey, Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

The Treasury Department said the Iranian government controls 21 banks, insurance firms, mining concerns, investment firms and technology companies in Japan, Germany, Italy, Belarus, Luxembourg and Iran.

The department also added two Iranian organizations and seven Iranian individuals operating throughout the Middle East to the Treasury’s terrorism blacklist.

The action, which comes under an executive order, freezes any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits Americans and U.S. firms from engaging in any transactions with them.

“Today’s designations expose Iran’s use of its state apparatus-including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force-and state-run social service organizations to support terrorism under the guise of providing reconstruction and economic development assistance or social services,” the Treasury said.

The United States previously sanctioned Iran’s Revolutionary Guard entities over their support for terrorist activities and Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. Iran denies Western allegations that it is seeking atomic weapons, insisting that it only wants peaceful nuclear energy.

(Reporting Corbett B. Daly; Editing by Bill Trott)

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