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U.S. toughens sanctions on Iran by freezing country's and Central Bank's properties

Washington, Tue, 07 Feb 2012 ANI

Washington, Feb 7(ANI): The U.S. has imposed a fresh set of sanctions on the Iranian government to pressure the latter to halt its nuclear program.


The White House announced that it was freezing all Iran's properties in the U.S, including those held by its Central Bank.


US President Barack Obama said the Central Bank of Iran was concealing transactions of sanctioned parties and added that it was not taking steps to combat money laundering.


"Iran now faces an unprecedented level of pressure" and that the new sanctions confirms Iran "will face ever-increasing economic and diplomatic pressure until it addresses the international community's well-founded and well-documented concerns regarding the nature of its nuclear program," The Wall Street Journal quoted a US Treasury Department statement, as saying.


The sanctions announced are likely to escalate tensions with Iran, which recently threatened to block off the Strait of Hormuz, a waterway near the Persian Gulf that carries about 20 percent of the world's oil shipments.


The move comes after the West had earlier called on Iran to halt its nuclear program but Iran insisted that it is for peaceful purposes.


The U.S. is already implementing sanctions that aim to cut off Iranian oil exports, a major source of revenue for Iran's government.


The European Union also approved an embargo on Iranian oil that goes into effect in July. (ANI)


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