U.S. tightens screws on Iran's economy
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
May 31st, 2013
03:25 PM ET

U.S. tightens screws on Iran's economy

By Jamie Crawford

The United States imposed new sanctions on Iran on Friday in an effort to further squeeze its crippled economy and pressure Tehran into curbing its nuclear ambitions.

The latest Treasury Department action targets the petrochemical industry, Iran's second-highest source of revenue after oil production, which is also under sanctions.

Treasury targeted eight companies under the authority of an executive order signed by President Barack Obama last year to stem the flow of money that can be diverted to Iran's nuclear program.

Western powers believe Iran is aiming to develop a nuclear weapon. Iran says its intentions are peaceful.

Obama's order put companies and other governments on notice the United States would eventually target Iran's petrochemical sector. Friday's action was the first enforcement of that aspect of the directive.

Treasury also sanctioned companies and individuals from Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates that lease and sell aircraft to two Iranian airlines the United States says is involved in illicit activities to fund and support Iran's elite Quds Force.

The Quds Force has been implicated by the United States and other governments for its role in plotting or carrying out terrorist operations both in American and around the world.

"Today's actions take aim at revenues from Iran's petrochemical sector, as well as deceptive schemes Iran has employed in an effort to evade sanctions on its oil sales and its airlines," David Cohen, Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.

Additional sanctions against companies in Cyprus and Ukraine were also announced for their role in helping Iran evade sanctions on its sale of petroleum as part of a clandestine effort to replenish its coffers.

"We will continue to work with our partners around the world to ensure that the sanctions pressure on Iran builds so long as Iran continues to defy its obligation to comply with its international obligations," Cohen said.

Talks between the United States, and the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, Germany and Iran that are aimed at getting Tehran to curtail its nuclear ambitions are currently stalemated.

The Treasury also issued an order on Thursday that allows for the export of certain personal communications equipment from the United States to help Iranian citizens circumvent censorship and other efforts by the regime to stifle free speech.

In a conference call with reporters on Friday, a senior Obama administration official highlighted what the United States sees as an "alarming trend" of Iran, and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, to expand destabilizing efforts in Syria and elsewhere.

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Filed under: Iran • Quds Force • Sanctions • Treasury
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. NYC Fitness Event

    I wonder if this is having the opposite affect that we are hoping for. I'm sure that stuff is being smuggled into the country at a rapid rate. As well as the citizen's of Iran probably just blame us.

    February 3, 2014 at 9:41 pm | Reply
  2. Mike

    You don't tighten screws on economies. You tighten screws on thumb and finger joints. With technique that poor, it's no wonder the CIA can't get anything with torture.

    June 4, 2013 at 10:08 am | Reply
  3. SolarMoon

    Which the Iranians immediately thwarted through their various proxies.

    June 2, 2013 at 11:51 pm | Reply
  4. Lancesephyr

    These damn Israhell-Firsters have corrupted America's body politic and are basically ruining America. Screw Israhell and this damn AIPAC stooge Cohen. Iran should develop nuclear weapons to protect themselves from the Israel-Firster nutcases that owe their elegance to Israhell and not America! No wonder that pat Buchanan called Congress " Israeli occupied territory"!

    June 2, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Reply
  5. fiscaltiger

    this is a demonstration of the extent of jewish autocratic power in the US. Cohen is the same last name as the shinbet director of israel. perhaps that is why obama is being led by the nose to start conflict continuously in the middle east

    June 2, 2013 at 10:00 pm | Reply
  6. NK

    IRAN IS A HUGE COUNTRY AS BIG AS WESTERN EUROPE AND ALL OF YOU PEOPLE HERE KNOW THAT HOW ITS RICH CULTURALLY AND WITH VAST NATURAL RESOURCES .
    THIS COUNTRY HAS BEEN A POWER HOUSE FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS WITH BRAVE PEOPLE AND OVER NIGHT ITS CIVILIAN PEOPLE WILL CHANGE TO A FIGHTING FORCE TO DEFEND ITS BORDERS. AS THEY DID FIGHTING AN 8 YEARS OLD WAR WITH THE WORLD IN 80S.
    NOTHING IS GOING TO STOP THIS GIANT TO WEAK UP AND CLAIM ITS PLACE IN THE WORLD.
    NOT EVEN ALL YOUR NUKES!!!!!!

    June 2, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  7. Vinay Prasad

    It will not be too long when the United States sanctions big companies and countries. The result will be retaliation. Other countries will also start taking steps to make America's life difficult. Its just a matter of time. Sanction China and see the result.

    June 1, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Reply
    • Karl

      In fact Vinay, we've been sanctioning China between 1949 up to 1971 which turned out to be a complete failure and accomplished nothing at all! Far from being brought to it's knees, China came out of it stronger than ever! This goes to show how stupid the politics of hunger is plus the fact that it's quite it's quite inhumane to boot!

      June 1, 2013 at 11:56 pm | Reply
  8. sand

    every usa women and child will die one blow to the head of irish half breed usa and the game is over.

    June 1, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Reply
    • Sigmund Freud

      Excellent inquiry: Why would an irish lass elect a path of promiscuity, fornicating exclusively non-caucasion communists culminating in a Kenyan communist who abandoned her and their offspring Barack in short order? And what kind of mother would such a lass make? That the United States would bear the consequences of such a travesty -astonishing, in a bad way...

      June 3, 2013 at 9:45 am | Reply
  9. lance

    the u.s. needs to stop muslem immigration to the u.s. for public safety, no more 911s no more boston bombings stop voting liberal politicians into goverment for the safety of this country.

    June 1, 2013 at 11:32 am | Reply
    • Indian

      As an Indian, we need to stop white Europeans from coming here. If that doesn't work, then treat you white europeans the same way you treat the rest of the world.
      You're so full of yourself you don't recognize that you are the invaders, the evil of the world.

      June 1, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Reply
    • Carson Thaler

      you fool... osama bin laden was a conservative too

      June 3, 2013 at 3:28 am | Reply
  10. Quigley

    This is just more of the same old politics of hunger used as a weapon of war by those thugs in Washington trying to bring another country to it's knees. This has been going on for the past 50 years or so, beginning with Cuba in 1961! No wonder we're so hated around the world! Enough is enough!

    June 1, 2013 at 9:40 am | Reply
  11. john smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    June 1, 2013 at 8:09 am | Reply
    • jack collar

      well said john smith

      June 1, 2013 at 9:03 am | Reply
  12. Aurthority9

    People of then United States of America and the World,
    Sanctions on Iran are a joke, what have they done to stop Irans Nuclear Programs
    up to now.Iran can obtain anything it needs from RUSSIA and CHINA.When will the world
    wake up and realize the only way to make the point is military force.

    May 31, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Reply
    • Joe M.

      Come on, Authority9, you sound like another mindless Tea Partier screaming for another senseless war halfway around the world. No wonder we can't have peace!

      May 31, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Reply
      • Aurthority9

        I am an Independent Vietnam vet who wants to stop the threats
        Against the United States., based on your ideology
        Lets just disband the United States military altogether because
        Guns and war are bad.We donot want our sane non-criminal
        Young people to go into the military or learn how to fire a weapon because guns are bad.
        So, lets just leave our borders open so the Russians and Chinese, Cubans and lets throw in the North Koreans
        For good measure can roll into the United States and straigthen us all out, yeah that's the ticket!

        May 31, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
    • gator bait

      pick up a gun and do something in stead of being a keyboard tuff guy

      May 31, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Reply
    • USMC1371

      Authority,
      I agree sanctions have done nothing but hurt the people. The government is still going the direction it wants to go. By sanctions we are turning the public against us since we are labeled as the cause of their suffering. If the majority of nations agree that the nuclear program needs to stop then they need to stand together and use military action as the UN and stop it.

      June 1, 2013 at 1:51 am | Reply
    • Vinay Prasad

      Aurthority9, you went to war against Vietnam and lost horribly. You are lucky the enemies didnt capture you. Today, hundreds can be captured if the aircraft carrier Stinitz, which is placed in the Persian Gulf gets bombed and capsizes. There are 6000 people on board on that ship. Of course America will not be stupid enough to let that happen, but in a war, anything can happen.And dont think if America attacks Iran, all your problems in life will be solved. It will trigger a third world war. And America will be the bigger looser than Iran. Think about it.

      June 1, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Reply
      • Todd

        America the bigger loser in Iran if it comes to war? If it comes to war , Iran will be a glass factory.... How many years did Iran fight Iraq? The US defeated Irag in a matter of weeks... Think about it.

        June 2, 2013 at 3:36 am |
      • hey vinay

        Todd needs to go pimp his girls...may be the Secret Service will need more than in 2008...

        June 2, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
      • Carson Thaler

        true that- in the third world war, the world will band together against america, but american citizens are too ignorant to see why, lol...

        June 3, 2013 at 3:32 am |
    • Jomama

      Actually you are right. Iran has means and sanctions will not work. China Russia also correct. Iran verse's Israel conventional warfare is a coin flip. Even if you go in and surgically take out sites in 3 years back up and dug in deeper. Also the worlds thirst for oil, The thirst for oil is so great even a few days interrupted would cause Havoc. Its going to get interesting to say the least.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Reply
    • Carson Thaler

      military force against the US, i hope you mean... America is the real terrorist. Go do your homework. The US earns her enemies... they don't just happen to her.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:30 am | Reply
      • Tom

        Well said, Carson. Thank you.

        June 3, 2013 at 1:26 pm |

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