U.S. Targets Iran’s Central Bank; penalizes financial institutions for doing business with the Iranian Central Bank - part of the NDAA
HONOLULU—President Barack Obama signed into law on Saturday sanctions against Iran’s central bank, marking the sharpest economic confrontation between Washington and Tehran yet and potentially stoking tensions in the Persian Gulf.
The measure, which Congress passed as part of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, penalizes foreign financial institutions that do business with Iran’s central bank, Bank Markazi.
Mr. Obama has some flexibility in determining the strength and scope of the sanctions, which are intended to make it more difficult for Iran to sell its oil. But the administration intends to move forward with implementing the law in a way that doesn’t damage the global economy, senior administration officials said.
"We believe we can do this," a senior administration official said. "The president will consider his options, but our intent—our absolute intent—is to in a timed and phased way implement this legislation so it can have the impact that Congress intended and the president agrees with."
Some U.S. officials believe that Tehran will view the bill signing itself as an act of war. The move could push Iran to take drastic measures, including an attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important channel for shipping crude oil. But while Iran’s navy could theoretically disrupt tanker traffic there, which would send oil prices skyrocketing, in reality it would be almost impossible for Iran to block the waterway.
The mammoth defense bill includes, among many other controversial measures, the toughest sanctions yet to pressure Iran over its alleged development of a nuclear weapon. The bill specifically targets anyone doing business with Iran’s central bank, an attempt to force other countries to choose between buying oil from Iran or being blocked from any dealings with the U.S. economy.
Certain sanctions would begin to take effect in 60 days, including purchases not related to petroleum and the sale of petroleum products to Iran through private banks. The toughest measures won’t take effect for at least six months, including transactions from governments purchasing Iranian oil and selling petroleum products.
•implying this won’t force Iran into a corner that will basically put it in the rough position of having to decide between financial ruin and doing something completely drastic like blocking the Strait of Hormuz to block oil traffic out of the middle east.
•implying this won’t provoke Iran into doing the right sort of action to get the US on top of another justified military response.
It’s like the US wants to start a war with Ira- Oh, wait.
Or just force Iran to bend backwards and stop producing nuclear arms but it’s tough being the only large Western-unfriendly state left in the world.