I don’t know what took them so long to finally do this, but at least they’re getting tough…finally
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Bush administration announced sweeping new sanctions against Iran Thursday – the harshest since the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in 1979 – charging anew that Tehran supports terrorism in the Middle East, exports missiles and is engaging in a nuclear build up.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, joined at a State Department news conference by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, said the steps the Bush administration is taking against the Revolutionary Guard Corps and a number of banks are designed, among other things, to punish Tehran for its support of terrorist organizations in Iraq and the Middle East.
Rice said the moves were in response to “a comprehensive policy to confront the threatening behavior of the Iranians” although she also said that Washington remains open to “a diplomatic solution.”
But Rice quickly added: “Unfortunately the Iranian government continues to spurn our offer of open negotiations, instead threatening peace and security by pursuing nuclear technologies that can lead to a nuclear weapon, building dangerous ballistic missiles, supporting Shia militants in Iraq and terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, and denying the existence of a fellow member of the United Nations, threatening to wipe Israeli off the map.”
The announcement culminated a monthslong series of harsh statements from both sides amid public recriminations both within the administration and the Congress over Tehran’s strategic intentions.
The United States has long labeled Iran as a state supporter of terrorism and has been working for years to gain support for tougher sanctions from the international community aimed at keeping the country from developing nuclear weapons.
The sanctions will cut off more than 20 Iranian entities, including individuals and companies owned or controlled by the Revolutionary Guards, from the American financial system and will likely have ripple effects throughout the international banking community.