Obama Orders Tougher Sanctions Against Iran

     WASHINGTON (CN) – President Barack Obama has ordered tougher sanctions against Iran, including new measures against groups that aid in censorship, and penalties for those who help sanctioned industries.
     Iran has been the subject of U.S. and international sanctions in an effort to deter the country from developing a nuclear program, which critics say would be used to develop weapons to use against Israel.
     In August, the president authorized sanctions on foreign banks that facilitate transactions for the National Iranian Oil Company or the Naftiran Intertrade Company.
     Those sanctions allow the Secretary of the Treasury to block accounts in an attempt to limit the Iranian government’s ability to raise money from petroleum sales.
     In an executive last week, President Obama tightened sanctions against Iran, with measures that allow the U.S. government to pursue parent companies of foreign companies that violate sanctions.
     The order was based on The Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act, which Obama signed in August.
     The order allows the Treasury Secretary to block trade that involves entities that “engaged in censorship” or assisted other activities “that prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or assembly by citizens of Iran.”
     “The onus is on Iran to abide by its international obligations with respect to its nuclear program,” National Security Council spokesperson Tommy Vietor said in a statement.
     “If the Iranian government continues its defiance, there should be no doubt that the United States and our partners will continue to tighten our sanctions and impose increasing consequences,” Vietor said.
     Iran is currently dealing with a currency crisis, which the Wall Street Journal reported is “due in part to U.S. sanctions.”
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