Wednesday Feb 27, 201302:50 PM GMT
US to expand sanctions on Iran amid Iran-P5+1 talks
Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:49PM
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As Iran and the group of six world powers held talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan, members of the House of Representatives are preparing to introduce a bill on Wednesday which would give President Obama additional powers to impose economic penalties on countries that provide Iran with goods “critical to its economy.”


The legislation, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters on Tuesday, is an extension on existing U.S. sanctions against the Iranian nation over the country’s nuclear energy program.


Under the legislation, European authorities would be forced to prevent Iran from using the European Central Bank’s payment system.


Moreover, on Monday, one day before the latest round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia, and the U.S. plus Germany) began in Kazakhstan, U.S. senators wrote a letter to European Council leaders to urge the European Central Bank to deny Iran access to its Euro-denominated foreign exchange reserves.


The measures come less than a month after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said the U.S. is ready to hold direct talks with Iran over its nuclear energy program.


The Obama administration has already put in place the toughest sanctions ever imposed on the Islamic Republic, including new measures targeting, for the first time, Iran’s entire financial system.


The U.S.-engineered sanctions have been imposed on the Iranian nation based on the allegations that Iran’s nuclear energy program is a cover for military purposes.


Tehran vehemently rejects the accusations as baseless and politically-motivated.


Iran says, as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.


Iran has cooperated with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) more than any other country throughout the history of the agency.


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