A group of U.S. lawmakers is proposing to intensify the economic pressure on Iran over its disputed nuclear program by drafting the harshest penalties to date on a nation whose income from oil exports has been cut in half by sanctions since 2011.
The failure of Iran and the world powers to reach an interim deal over the Islamic nation’s nuclear work may increase pressure for additional sanctions and force diplomats to consider alternatives to end the dispute.
The European Central Bank said no payments that contravene European Union sanctions on Iran are cleared via its payments system, Target2, as U.S. lawmakers consider pushing for tougher controls on euro-based transfers to the country.
Unless Iran abandons its quest for nuclear weapons, there is one certainty in Washington’s policy toward the Islamic Republic: more sanctions. It is also inevitable that the more these economic measures hurt average Iranians, the more controversial they will become, especially in Europe.
There’s scant hope for a breakthrough next week when negotiators from the U.S. and five other nations meet Iranians for long-awaited talks over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions, according to current and former Western and Iranian officials.
Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, the choke-point for Persian Gulf oil shipments, reveals how deeply the latest Western sanctions -- and the threat of even tougher measures -- have spooked the clerical regime.
The Iranian officers who knocked out Saeid Pourheydar’s four front teeth also enlightened the opposition journalist. Held in Evin Prison for weeks following his arrest early last year for protesting, he says, he learned that he was not only fighting the regime, but also companies that armed Tehran with technology to monitor dissidents like him.
Swift, the global bank-transfer messaging service, said it is prepared to impose sanctions against Iranian financial institutions once the European Union presents implementing rules on its restrictions.