WASHINGTON—The Obama administration enacted new financial sanctions on Iran’s elite military unit and its largest shipping company, as the U.S. intensifies efforts to choke Tehran off from the global financial system.
The Treasury Department’s announcement Tuesday comes just weeks ahead of a scheduled second round of negotiations in Turkey between Iran and the international community focused on containing Tehran’s nuclear program, which Iran says is peaceful in nature.
Senior U.S. officials said the new measures illustrate that Washington and its allies won’t relax their financial campaign against Iran even as the diplomatic process continues in late January. “It’s clear that our policy is going to be to continue to impose pressure on Iran so long as it defies its international obligations,” said Stuart Levey, the Treasury’s point man on Iran sanctions.
The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, plus Germany, held an earlier diplomatic round with Iran on Dec. 6-7 in Geneva. The talks registered little progress and have sparked concern that Iran may seek to use the diplomacy to deflect international pressure while continuing to advance its nuclear capabilities.
The Treasury on Tuesday heightened its financial war against Iran’s principal military organization, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, by blacklisting two banks and a financial foundation allegedly aiding the IRGC’s activities.