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Middle East
US imposes more Iran sanctions
Washington slaps Tehran with sanctions on 21 government firms over nuclear work.
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2010 05:40 GMT
The Iranian leadership insists the sanctions will have no effect on the country [AFP]

The US government has imposed sanctions on 21 Iranian government firms, increasing international pressure over the country's disputed nuclear programme.

Accusing Tehran of trying to dodge sanctions by setting up opaque trading companies, the US treasury department on Tuesday also named a host of banking, mining and other companies - spread throughout Europe and Japan -as government-backed.

"As its isolation from the international financial and commercial systems increases, the government of Iran will continue efforts to evade sanctions," Stuart Levey, the treasury undersecretary, said.

Those moves, he said, included "using government-owned entities around the world that are not easily identifiable as Iranian to facilitate transactions in support of their illicit activities".

The treasury also announced sanctions against individuals and groups to target "the government of Iran's support for terrorism and terrorist organisations," that include Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Taliban.

'Taliban support'

Senior members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard were among those named, including Mohammad Reza Zahedi and Hossein Musavi - a commander who, the treasury said, had "provided financial and material support to the Taliban".

It also accused the Revolutionary Guard of running aid operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon as cover for intelligence operations as well as funding armed groups.

The 21 firms included two Belarus-based banks, two Germany-based investment firms, and mining and engineering companies in Japan, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy and Iran.

US citizens and businesses will now be barred from doing business with the proscribed companies.

It is the latest in a series of US moves aimed at increasing pressure on Iran, which Western governments say is trying to build a nuclear weapon. Iran denies the charge and says its nuclear progamme is for peaceful purposes.

Source:
Agencies
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