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Obama orders freezing of Iran's property under U.S. jurisdiction

(Xinhua)

08:11, February 07, 2012

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- The White House said on Monday that President Barack Obama has ordered the freezing of Iran's property under U.S. jurisdiction, including that of the country's central bank, as the U.S. and its allies are pressing hard over the Islamic republic's controversial nuclear program.

Calling them "additional steps" against Iran, the president ordered "all property and interests in property of" the government of Iran as well as the republic's financial institutions under U.S. jurisdiction including the Central Bank of Iran, to be "blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in."

The property of persons determined to have links to those already under U.S. sanctions is ordered to be frozen as well.

In his executive order signed on Sunday, Obama said the move aims in particular to counter the "deceptive practices" of Iran's central bank and other banks to conceal transactions of sanctioned parties, the deficiencies in Iran's anti-money laundering regime and the weaknesses in its implementation, and the "continuing and unacceptable" risk posed to the international financial system by Iran's activities.

Obama's order, which becomes effective at 12:01 am EST on Monday (1701GMT), came amid heightened tensions between Western countries and Iran over the latter's nuclear program and growing rumors about an imminent strike by Israel on Iran's nuclear facilities.

White House spokesman Jay Carney called the action one " reflective of the policy that we've taken for quite a long time now in reaction to Iranian behavior, which is essentially a dual track" of sanctions and diplomacy.

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