WASHINGTON, May 24: The United States on Tuesday announced sanctions against "seven foreign entities" including Venezuela´s state oil company as part of new efforts to contain Iran´s nuclear ambitions.
Washington also imposed sanctions against 16 other foreign entities and individuals, including from China, over trade with Iran, Syria and North Korea in goods or technology that may be used for weapons of mass destruction or missiles.
Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg told reporters the measures against the seven entities come under the Iran sanctions act of 1996.
The firms include Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), as well as PCCI (Jersey/Iran), Royal Oyster Group (UAE), Speedy Ship (UAE/Iran), Tanker Pacific (Singapore), Ofer Brothers Group (Israel), and Associated Shipbroking (Monaco).
The sanctions are aimed at preventing Iran from developing its energy sector, which in turn is used to fund its nuclear program suspected of weapons development, Steinberg said.
"Today´s action adds further pressure on Iran to comply with its international obligations," Steinberg said.
The European Union on Monday tightened its own sanctions on Iran, adding more than 100 firms to a blacklist of companies hit by an assets freeze amid efforts to revive international talks to make Tehran halt its nuclear program.
Steinberg said the United States is also imposing sanctions against 16 foreign entities and individuals, including those from China, Belarus, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela as part of an effort to curb weapons proliferation.
He said those sanctions were imposed "pursuant to the Iran, North Korea and Syria non-proliferation act for activities in support of WMD (weapons of mass destruction) and missile programs."