US Imposes Sanctions on Iran Air and Shipping Companies

Posted June 23rd, 2011 at 7:55 pm (UTC-5)
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The United States is imposing new sanctions against Iran, targeting its national airline and a major Iranian port company.

The Treasury Department announced the moves Thursday against Iran Air and Tidewater Middle East Company and three other firms. The Obama administration says the entities are targeted because of illegal shipping activity and weapons movements.

The United States and its allies, as well as the United Nations, have already hit Iran with several rounds of sanctions for pursuing nuclear weapons technology and over human rights violations.

Also Thursday, the U.S., Britain and France called for the release of a report submitted to the U.N. Security Council that says Tehran has been violating a U.N. arms embargo, mostly by shipping weapons to Syria.

Veto-wielding council members Russia and China, however, gave no indication they would allow the document to be published.

A copy of the confidential report, obtained by Reuters, says most of Iran's breaches of the U.N. arms embargo have been deliveries of weapons to Syria, which Western diplomats say were to be passed on to Lebanese and Palestinian militants.

Meanwhile, in Tehran, Iran's president said his government is not interested in building a nuclear bomb, but will not be stopped by the West if it desires to create one.

State television quoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Thursday as saying his government would tell the world if it was working on a nuclear weapon.

Mr. Ahmadinejad's comments are the latest in a long series of denials from Tehran about its nuclear aims. Iran says its nuclear projects are for peaceful purposes.

Western nations believe Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons capability under the cover of a civilian energy program. Tehran denies the allegations.