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US penalizes companies for doing business with Iran

Press TV – February 7, 2014

The United States has penalized nearly three dozen companies and individuals in eight countries, accusing them of evading unilateral sanctions against Iran.

The move is aimed at blunting “an atmosphere of optimism” that has resulted from an interim nuclear deal reached between Iran and six world powers late last year, the New York Times reports.

The US Treasury Department said the targeted entities operated in Turkey, Spain, Germany, Georgia, Afghanistan, Iran, Liechtenstein and the United Arab Emirates.

The announcement marks the second time the Obama administration has penalized businesses since the deal was inked on November 24 and put into effect last month.

As part of the current agreement, the West offered Tehran modest sanctions relief in return for Iran taking steps to limit its uranium enrichment activities. The deal called for negotiation of a full agreement within a year.

Many members of Congress and Israel have denounced the agreement, arguing that the easing of sanctions disproportionately favored Iran.

Washington has said it will continue to enforce existing sanctions until a more comprehensive deal is reached. “We strongly believe that sustaining sanctions pressure will be critical,” a senior US Treasury Department official said in a conference call with reporters on Thursday.

A recent visit to Iran by a French delegation of more than 100 businesspeople has greatly irritated senior US officials.

Secretary of State John Kerry called his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, on Tuesday to express concern about the business delegation.

In testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, Wendy Sherman, under secretary of state for political affairs and the Obama administration’s top negotiator with Iran, said Kerry and other senior US officials believe these trade visits are “not helpful.”

“Tehran is not open for business because our sanctions relief is quite temporary, quite limited and quite targeted,” Sherman said.

David Cohen, top Treasury sanctions official, also warned that companies or governments still risk heavy penalties under United Nations, US or European sanctions if they expanded trade with Iran.

The Treasury prohibits companies and individuals from carrying out financial transactions with Iran under US jurisdiction.

February 7, 2014 - Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , ,

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