After months of threatening to impose harsh sanctions on Iran, US President Barack Obama signed into law tough embargos aimed at Iran’s central bank and financial sector.
The punishment for Iran’s failure to halt its nuclear weapons program is contained in a huge $662 billion defense bill President Obama signed on Saturday. The sanctions came at the behest of Congress, despite arguments from the White House that the law would harm international finances and damage US relations with Iranian trade partners such as Russia and China.
The potential spike in oil prices could also have an impact on the fragile US economy.
As part of the financial embargo, foreign enterprises wishing to conduct business with Iranian oil firms or banks will no longer be eligible to also conduct business in the United States. However, President Obama was left with the power to grant 120-day trade waivers for exchanges he sees as vital to national security. Countries and businesses dealing with Iran will also be given time to pull out, rather than being hit by sanctions immediately.
Senior US officials Saturday said they would execute the sanctions in such a way as to impact Iran while protecting the US and global economies.
President Obama signed the bill into law during his vacation in Hawaii.