The US announced on Thursday that it is imposing new sanctions
against Iran, charging that Tehran supports terrorism in the Middle
East, exports missiles and is engaging in a nuclear buildup.
The sanctions will be imposed against Iran's defense ministry,
its Revolutionary Guard Corps and more than 20 Iranian companies,
banks and individuals.
Under US laws, any assets found in the US belonging to the
designated groups must be frozen. Americans are also forbidden from
doing business with them.
The sanctions are believed to be the toughest Washington has
levied against Iran since the 1979 takeover of the US Embassy in
Tehran. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, who was joined at a
State Department news conference by Treasury Secretary Henry
Paulson, described the US sanctions as "a comprehensive policy to
confront the threatening behavior of the Iranians."
They will "provide a powerful deterrent" for companies in the US
and abroad to sever business relationships with Iran, she said.
On Wednesday, Rice told Congress that Iran poses "greatest
challenge" to American security, its interests in the Middle East
and around the world.
The accusation and latest sanctions came days after US President
George W. Bush warned that a nuclear-armed Iran evoked the threat
of "World War III," and Vice President Dick Cheney attacked the
Islamic republic's nuclear drive.
Despite the tougher action against Iran, Rice insisted that the
US remains open to "a diplomatic solution."
Tensions are growing between the US and Iran over Washington's
accusations that Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons and
helping Shiite militias in Iraq that target US troops. Iran denies
(Xinhua News Agency October 26, 2007)