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US sanctions Iranian companies
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Dec 21, 2012


The United States on Friday sanctioned four Iranian companies, including one accused of providing weapons to the Syrian regime's crackdown.

The Treasury Department said SAD Import Export Company shipped weapons to the Syrian Armed Forces on behalf of Iran's Defense Industries Organization, which it accused of being used by the government to "assist" the Syrian regime's crackdown.

In 21 months, the anti-regime revolt in Syria has claimed more than 44,000 lives, according to monitors.

SAD Import Export and two others, Chemical Industries and Development of Materials Group and Marine Industries Organization, were also blacklisted for their ties to Iran's Defense Industries Organization and its defense ministry.

And the director of the Marine Industries Organization, Mustafa Esbati, was implicated for his support to Iran's Aerospace Industries Organization, as was a fourth company, Doostan International Company.

The executive order targeted "proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters," and freezes any assets those designated may have under US jurisdiction.

It also puts foreign banks on notice that they can lose access to the US financial system if they "facilitate significant transactions or provide significant financial services" to them.

"We will continue to expose the companies and individuals involved in Iran's illicit weapons program," said David Cohen, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the Treasury.

A day earlier, the UN Security Council had slapped sanctions on two Iranian firms accused of supplying arms to the Syrian government -- including SAD Import Export Company -- adding them to a growing Iran sanctions list for breaching an arms embargo ordered against the Islamic republic for its nuclear drive.

EU tightens noose on Iran with new sanctions
Brussels (AFP) Dec 21, 2012 - The EU on Friday agreed new sanctions against Iran, adding 18 companies or institutions and one person to a blacklist aimed at forcing stalled talks on Tehran's contested nuclear drive to resume.

A statement said a person and 18 entities "involved in nuclear activities or providing support to the Iranian government" had been added to an already long list of those targeted by a European Union asset freeze and travel ban.

This brought the total of entities subject to sanctions to 490 and the total number of people to 105.

The identities of those concerned will be released Saturday in the EU's Official Journal.

The statement also said the 27-nation bloc had approved implementing legislation for a slew of tough new financial and trade sanctions against Iran agreed by foreign ministers on October 15.

These notably targeted dealings with Iran's banks, shipping, and gas imports.

The October package banned all transactions between European and Iranian banks unless authorised in advance by national authorities.

Imports of Iranian gas were also prohibited, a symbolic gesture since the amounts involved are small, but the move sits alongside a much more significant July ban on imports of Iranian oil.

Sales of graphite, metals, key naval equipment and technology for ship-building were also banned along with key equipment or technology for the Iranian oil, natural gas and petrochemical sector.

It banned too the use of EU vessels for transporting or storing Iranian oil.

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Iran judge condemns American to death for spying
Tehran (AFP) Jan 9, 2012
An Iranian judge sentenced a US-Iranian man to death for spying for the CIA, media reported Monday, exacerbating high tensions in the face of Western sanctions on the Islamic republic's nuclear programme. Amir Mirzai Hekmati, a 28-year-old former Marine born in the United States to an Iranian family, was "sentenced to death for cooperating with a hostile nation, membership of the CIA and try ... read more


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