Top U.S. officials on Monday hailed a European Union (EU) decision to target Iran’s oil exports and central bank for sanctions, calling it “another strong step” in the efforts to press the Islamic republic to stop its controversial nuclear program.
“We welcome today’s decision by the European Union to ban imports of Iranian crude oil and petroleum products, freeze the assets of the Iranian central bank, and take additional action against Iran’s energy, financial and transport sectors,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner said in a joint statement.
They called the EU move “another strong step in the international effort to dramatically increase the pressure on Iran, ” adding that these measures are consistent with the steps taken previously by the United States as well as the new sanctions authorized by President Barack Obama at the end of 2011.
Under a defense bill signed into law by the U.S. president on Dec. 31, foreign firms continuing to do business with Iran’s central bank and financial sector will be shut out from the American financial market.
“These new U.S. sanctions intensify the ongoing pressure on Iran and strengthen the impact of existing measures by targeting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran and by providing strong incentives to reduce Iran’s ability to earn revenue from its oil exports,” Clinton and Geithner noted.