WASHINGTON (CN) - President Barack Obama has expanded existing sanctions against Iran's petroleum industry to include a ban on most transactions by U.S. based companies or individuals that support Iran's production of petrochemicals.
In a statement to Congress, Obama said that Iran is developing its own oil refining capacity to subvert the ban on direct sales the U.S. imposed last year.
Under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act, the president is authorized to impose sanctions against Iran in order to deter its illicit nuclear activities, development of ballistic missiles, and support for international terrorism.
The new sanctions ban the sale, lease or provision of any goods, services, technology or support in excess of $1 million that could contribute to the development of Iran's oil industry.
Anyone violating the new sanctions would face the loss of any current contracts they have with federal agencies, would be barred from bidding on future projects and would lose all import/export licenses issued by the government.
Violators also would have a hard time spending any illicit funds, as banks, brokerages and other financial institutions are barred from handling any money derived from a violation of the sanctions and the Treasury department will freeze any illicit funds it finds.
The sanctions go into effect immediately.
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