The European Union and the United States added to the growing list of sanctions meant to pressure Iran into rethinking its nuclear program. On Monday, the E.U. agreed to cut off oil imports and freeze assets in an effort to starve Iran of funding for its nuclear program.
Soon after the E.U. made its announcement, the U.S. announced it was adding Iran's third largest bank to the banned list, accusing it of providing financial services to other Iranian banks and firms already sanctioned. The move against Bank Tejarat chokes off one of Iran’s last access points to the intl financial system, our Elise Labott reports.
The sanctions come after the U.S., Britain and France sent naval vessels across the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf this weekend. Iran will get some attention Tuesday night, as well. Expect tough language on Iran from President Obama in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, democratic sources tell Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin.
The U.S. has sanctioned 22 Iranian-linked banks, including all of the state-owned banks, according to the Treasury Department.
The history of U.S. sanctions against Iran dates as far back as 1979, when hostages were held at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Over the years, the U.S. government has approved other sanctions. In 2010, amid increasing tensions of Iran's nuclear program, the United States instituted sanctions that U.S. officials described as "unprecedented."
The United Nations and the European Union, and other countries around the world also have sanctions against Iran.
Click here to read more from Josh Levs about the key steps in the efforts to sanction Iran.
Fareed Zakaria GPS's page looks at why the EU efforts take a real bite out of Iranian oil exports.