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Newest Sanctions Hit Iran’s Money, Cars

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The aggressive new U.S. sanctions against Iran are targeting, for the first time, the country’s currency, the rial, and its car industry. The new measures came with new warnings of a yet more painful escalation of the sanctions still to come, as President Barack Obama is attempting to convince the Iranians to stop enriching weapons grade uranium, AFP reports.

The measures came only days before Iran’s presidential election, and they are punishment for Tehran’s refusal to cooperate in order to revive the stalled talks on its nuclear program.

Obama signed an executive order imposing sanctions on foreign financial institutions that make transactions in the rial or keep rial accounts outside Iran.

The rial has lost two-thirds of its value over the last two years.

The ninth set of sanctions signed by Obama against Iran will also penalize the car makers in Europe and Asia for selling goods and services to Iran’s auto industry. This could mean a significant loss of jobs both inside Iran and in companies doing business with the Iranians.

But Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told AFP that the new measures were not “a game changer.”

“I don’t see them giving Ayatollah Khamenei existential angst,” he said, explaining that “middle and upper class Iranians who can no longer buy Mercedes, Peugeot, and South Korean automobiles will be inconvenienced and offended by this edict, but I don’t see them taking to the streets because of it.”

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