As it expanded its sanctions against Iranian entities, the U.S. has pressed for a concerted global approach to the issue and said it expected to see additional actions announced by other governments soon.
The United States has slapped fresh sanctions on dozens of Iranian firms and individuals having links with the country’s nuclear and missile programme, expanding its list of penalties following the UN Security Council’s resolution.
“To be truly effective in ending Iran’s proliferation activities and Iran’s support for terrorism, we need to have in place a concerted international approach,” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said at a White House briefing.
“This is not something the United States can do alone. We need other countries to move with us,” he said.
He said along with efforts in the UN to build international support for sanctions, Washington has also been working behind the scenes to build support “to prevent abuse of the global financial system by Iran“.
“We expect to see additional actions announced by other governments soon,” Mr. Geithner said.
Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey said increasingly companies around the world are deciding not to do business with the government of Iran because of its wide range of “illicit conduct” and because of a “brutal suppression of dissent and murder (of) the innocent“.
“The United Nations has also highlighted proliferation concerns surrounding Iran’s energy sector, and all companies must be conscious of the implications of any trade that they conduct with Iran’s energy companies,” he said.
He said officials in Iran were “anxious” about the new round of sanctions and pointed out that Tehran was involved in “deception” to evade sanctions.
“If Iranian government holds true to form, it will scramble to identify work-arounds, hiding behind front companies, doctoring wire transfers, falsifying shipping documents.
“We will continue to expose this deception, as we are today, and thereby reinforce the very reasons why the private sector around the world is increasingly shunning Iran,” he said.
He said the State Department has dedicated senior official Bob Einhorn to ensure that the sanctions are enforced in cooperation with international community.
He said the European Union is also expected to announce its set of sanctions -- a “tough set of measures” against Iran today. “We’re actually partnering with them quite closely,” he said.
“In terms of China, as is obvious, China, of course, not only is a UN Security Council permanent member but also voted for this resolution.
“And there are significant obligations placed on China in this resolution, which we have every reason to believe that they will faithfully execute,” Mr. Levey said.
Observing that the Security Council resolution is binding for the UN members, Levey said he has every reason to believe that both Turkey and Brazil, in spite of their negative vote on the resolution, will comply with it.
Beyond the requirements of the Security Council resolutions, governments around the world are considering what additional measures might be necessary to address the grave threat posed by Iran, Levey told reporters at a separate pen and pad briefing at the Treasury Department.
“And there have even been some countries that have acted already. We’ve heard from the Australians. We expect in the weeks and months to come that other countries around the world will be doing the same,” said Robert Einhorn, the Special State Department Advisor for Non proliferation and Arms Control.
He said the sanctions were not an end in themselves but a means to the end and the ultimate goal is to address the legitimate concerns of the international community and bring Iran to the negotiating table.