And we continue to increase the pressure. Iranian oil exports will continue to decline as we implement the law through our engagement with the last remaining six importers of Iranian oil. Iran’s currency will remain volatile as we block Iran’s revenue streams and block its access to funds held abroad. And we will continue to track, identify, and designate individuals and entities assisting Iran’s proliferation efforts and attempting to evade sanctions on Iran. Last week, the State Department sanctioned four Iranian companies and one individual for providing the Iranian government with goods, technology, and services that increase Iran’s ability to enrich uranium, which is prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions. On March 14, the State and Treasury Departments imposed sanctions on Dr. Dimitris Cambis and his company Impire Shipping for operating vessels on behalf of the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) that disguised the Iranian origin of the crude oil. On July 1, the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 takes full effect, targeting an array of sectors and industries in Iran. Looking forward, as long as Iran continues on its current unproductive path, the Administration will continue to assess and implement potential additional sanctions on sectors and industries that can serve as pressure points. We look forward to continued strong collaboration with members of Congress to develop smart sanctions and increase pressure on the regime, while maintaining the strong coalition we have built through sustained diplomatic efforts with partners.
In fact, one of the keys to our successful ratcheting up of the pressure on Iran is that we are not doing so alone. The European Union has enacted its own stringent sanctions regime, including an oil import ban that resulted in all 27 EU member states ceasing oil purchases from Iran. Australia, Canada, South Korea, Japan, and others have enacted their own sets of domestic measures, strengthening the international sanctions regime and sending a clear message to Iran: adhere to your international obligations, or face increasing pressure from the international community. And, even among partners who are frankly skeptical of sanctions, we have seen robust implementation of UN Security Council resolutions and cooperation on specific sanctions issues. We continue to coordinate closely with all of our international partners, ensuring stringent implementation of existing sanctions and encouraging strong domestic measures on Iran. As we move forward, it will be critical that we continue to move together and not take steps that undo the progress made so far. Doing such would signal divisions to Iran that it could and likely would exploit.
Even as we significantly increase pressure on the Iranian regime, we remain committed to ensuring that legitimate, humanitarian trade can continue for the benefit of the Iranian people. We take no pleasure in any hardship our sanctions might cause the Iranian people in their everyday lives, and it is U.S. policy to not target Iranian imports of humanitarian items. We have worked hard to ensure U.S. regulations contain an explicit exception from sanctions for transactions for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices to Iran as long as the transactions do not involve a designated entity or otherwise proscribed conduct. And when natural disasters have struck Iran, we have been ready to assist. Following a tragic earthquake in northwest Iran in August 2012, the Administration issued a general license to facilitate U.S. support to the Iranian people as they responded to and rebuilt from the natural disaster. In all our efforts on Iran, we have demonstrated that supporting the Iranian people and pressuring the policies of their government are not mutually exclusive.
As we have built unprecedented pressure on the Iranian regime, we have also intensified our efforts towards pursuing a diplomatic solution to the nuclear issue. Since his first days in office, the President has emphasized our readiness, working with members of the P5+1 to seek a negotiated resolution regarding Iran’s nuclear program. The P5+1 has been incredibly unified, and we have worked closely and well with the Russians and Chinese. On February 26, 2013, the P5+1 met with Iranian representatives in Almaty, where the P5+1 jointly presented Iran with an updated, balanced proposal that offered Iran a real opportunity to take steps toward reducing tensions and creating the time and space to negotiate a comprehensive solution to the nuclear issue. As in prior talks, Iran was presented with a strong and united message: address the international’s community’s concerns or face mounting pressure. Interestingly, Iran’s initial public response was positive and they signaled a potential turning point.Jewish Press Staff
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