New U.S. nuclear sanctions
placed on

BBC News
July 8, 2008

The US has imposed new financial sanctions on Iranian individuals and companies suspected of involvement in the country's nuclear program.

A senior defense ministry scientist and several companies thought to be linked to Iran's arms industry were among those placed on the restricted list.

The move will ban US companies from trading with those on the list, who will also have US assets frozen.

It came as G8 leaders called for Iran to halt uranium enrichment work.

Western leaders have been attempting to convince Tehran to stop enriching uranium, which it has continued despite the imposition of sanctions by the UN and the European Union.

Iran denies Western assertions that it is developing nuclear weapons and insists its nuclear program is intended for peaceful purposes.

Complicated situation

Announcing the sanctions, the US Department of the Treasury said Iran's military industry was far from transparent.

“Iran's nuclear and missile firms hide behind an array of agents that transact business on their behalf.”
                        -- Stuart Levey, US Treasury Department

"Iran's nuclear and missile firms hide behind an array of agents that transact business on their behalf," said Stuart Levey, under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

Correspondents say the latest sanctions move is intended to increase the pressure on Tehran to comply with the calls to end enrichment.

Last week Iran responded to a Western proposal offering incentives for it to suspend its enrichment program.

The response, delivered to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, was described as "a complicated and difficult letter" that needed analyzing.

But there were reports from the G8 summit in Japan that the letter contained no suggestion Iran would agree to halt enrichment.

Elsewhere, speaking in Malaysia at the end of an alternative summit of the D8 Islamic developing nations, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran had no interest in a military conflict with either the US or with Israel.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/07/08 18:31:33 GMT