President Obama agreed Friday to tough, new sanctions to slow Iran’s oil exportation by targeting the financial institutions that purchase the country’s oil.

The president said he made the decision after determining world markets have enough crude oil that such sanctions would not hurt U.S. allies.

“There is a sufficient supply of petroleum and petroleum products from countries other than Iran,” the president said. “I will closely monitor this situation to assure that the market can continue to accommodate a reduction in purchases of petroleum and petroleum products from Iran.”

Obama got the authority to impose the sanctions through the National Defense Authorization Act.

The sanctions aim to further isolate Iran’s central bank, which processes nearly all of the Islamic Republic’s oil purchases, from the global economy.

U.S. officials hope ratcheting up economic pressure will push Iran to abandon its disputed nuclear program and convince Israel to give sanctions time to take hold before pursuing a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. The U.S. and allies suspect Iran of pursuing a nuclear bomb. Iran denies that.

Continue reading →