WASHINGTON – Turning the screw on Iran and its nuclear program, the Obama administration imposed new sanctions Monday on Iran’s currency and auto industry, seeking to render Iranian money useless outside the country and to cut off the regime from critical revenue sources.
The executive order from President Barack Obama broadens what is already a concerted and multifaceted sanctions campaign aimed at crippling Iran’s economy, forcing it to comply with international demands that it prove its nuclear program is peaceful. The U.S. believes Iran is working to develop nuclear weapons, a charge that Iran denies.
Officials described the move as part of a dual-track effort to offer meaningful negotiations to the Iranian regime while continually upping the economic pressure.
The new sanctions marked the first time Iran’s currency, the rial, has been targeted directly with sanctions, the White House said. The sanctions apply to foreign financial institutions that purchase or sell significant amounts of the rial, as well as to those who hold significant amounts of the rial in accounts outside Iran.