US President Barack Obama has leveled new sanctions at Iran in an effort to force the government in Tehran to cooperate with international requests regarding its nuclear program.
In a statement released from the White House Obama said the new sanctions were "designed to deter Iran from establishing payment mechanisms for the purchase of Iranian oil to circumvent existing sanctions."
The Bank of Kunlun in China and Iraq's Elaf Islamic Bank were specifically mentioned as banks dealing with Iranian banks that are already under sanctions because of connections to the Iranian nuclear program.
Obama said those two banks would be denied access to the American financial system. Some sanctions were also aimed at reducing Iran's ability to obtain petrochemical products for its oil sector.
The US and Europe have steadily tightened the screws on Iran in an effort to get the country to comply with demands in nuclear negotiations. The EU has banned all Iranian oil imports, for example.
Obama has received criticism from his Republican opponent in the presidential race, Mitt Romney, for being too soft on Iran as the country allegedly attempts to obtain a nuclear weapon.
mz/msh (AFP, AP, Reuters)