Obama is ratcheting up the sanctions.
Obama orders new Iran sanctions amid nuclear fears - World - CBC News
U.S. President Barack Obama is imposing tough new sanctions against Iran and its Central Bank in a move designed to freeze the country's assets amid growing nuclear tensions.
Obama has signed an executive order that will cut the Islamic republic off from finance and commerce under U.S. jurisdiction, reasoning that "deceptive practices of the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian banks" warranted the strict measures.
The president's letter to Congress accused Iran of trying to "conceal transactions of sanctioned parties" and said that poor anti-money laundering enforcement there posed an "unacceptable risk" to the global financial system.
The U.S. Treasury Department said in a release that under the order, Iran's assests within the jurisdiction of U.S. persons or entities will be frozen.
The executive order is designed to enforce Central Bank sanctions in a defence bill passed last year and signed into law by Obama. The purpose of the bill was to restrict funding for Tehran's nuclear program and its alleged financing of international terrorism.
The futility of predicting Iran's future - By Bilal Y. Saab | The Middle East Channel (external - login to view)
Let us assume for a moment that Iran acquires a nuclear weapons capability (which is anything but inevitable given the many technical and political unknowns), a "nuclear seat belt or air bag" so to speak, will it behave like a more reckless driver? It is no surprise that analysts have had disagreements on this issue, some strong, others more nuanced. Most analysts however believe that a nuclear Iran -- whether overtly nuclear-armed or capable of producing weapons quickly -- would present an even greater challenge to Western interests and regional security than it does today, more aggressively protecting its strategic interests, projecting its power, pursuing its ideological ambitions, and meddling in the politics and security of its neighbors. A nuclear Iran could look more like Pakistan, a country that, after its 1998 nuclear tests, was feeling more confident on the regional and international stage and was arguably taking more risks in its policies toward its historical rival, India.
A more optimistic view of how a nuclear Iran would look and conduct itself in world politics suggests that mere possession of the bomb does not necessarily lead to a foreign policy of aggression and bellicosity. Despite its idiosyncratic features, ideological motivations and political instability, a nuclear Iran could resemble China, a country that, in pursuit of its security and diplomatic interests, has mostly sought to deter rather than confront, cooperate rather than defy, and coexist rather than threaten (except on the issues of Taiwan's and Tibet's independence, which continue to be red lines for the Chinese leadership).