China Urges US to Lift Sanctions Against Bank for Iran Ties

Posted August 1st, 2012 at 6:00 am (UTC-5)
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China is urging the United States to lift new sanctions imposed against a Chinese bank for doing business with Iran.

China's foreign ministry said Wednesday the sanctions damaged U.S.-Chinese relations, and that it would lodge an official protest.

The U.S. Treasury on Tuesday announced the sanctions against China's Bank of Kunlun and an Iraqi financial institution accused of doing business with sanctioned Iranian banks.

U.S. President Barack Obama also imposed new sanctions through an executive order Tuesday targeting Iran's energy and petrochemical sectors. The new measure is aimed at preventing Iran from circumventing international penalties for its controversial nuclear program.

Mr. Obama said in a statement the new sanctions strengthen efforts to pressure and isolate the Iranian government for “its continued failure to meet its international obligations.”

The White House action comes as the House of Representatives and the Senate prepare to introduce their own sanctions against Iran. Some lawmakers have criticized the president for not being tough enough on Iran.

The United States and several other Western countries have united to impose sanctions on Iran, saying they are concerned that Iran's nuclear program is an effort to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its programs to enrich uranium are for civilian purposes.