"Financial penalties adopted by the United States and other countries have failed to curb Iran's refinement of uranium, but present and past U.S. government insiders said the measures have severely hampered critical sectors of the Middle Eastern nation's economy, the Washington Post reported on Sunday (see GSN, July 8).
Washington and other governments have gradually constrained Iran's capacity to conduct business abroad through punitive measures implemented over the last 12 months against its financial, insurance and transit sectors, the Post reported. The United States and its allies have long expressed concern that Iran might tap its uranium enrichment program to generate bomb material, but Tehran has maintained its nuclear program is geared strictly toward power production and other civilian applications.
"The impact is real," White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said, noting $60 billion in Iranian electricity efforts that have been scuttled or placed on hold. The Persian Gulf state is struggling to "do business with any reputable bank internationally, to conduct transactions in euros or dollars, to acquire insurance for its shipping, (or) to gain new capital investment or technology infusions," the official said."