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4 Aug, 2010 03:21

US imposes new sanctions on Iran

The US has drawn up a new expanded blacklist of Iranian groups suspected of terrorist links.

It follows comments over the weekend by America's top military officer refusing to rule out the use of armed force if Iran doesn't stop its uranium enrichment program.

Tehran has dismissed the comments, saying any such military action is doomed to fail.

RT's Marina Portnaya reported the latest from New York.

“The US Treasury Department has announced additional sanctions against 21 Iranian entities,” Portnaya said. “Entities that, US officials say, are accused of aiding groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas and the Taliban. These US sanctions are targeting Iranian companies in the banking, insurance and investment, mining and engineering sector. Americans or US companies are now prohibited from doing any business with those entities that are now being sanctioned by the US Treasury Department, and all of this is coming just a few days after the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, said that the option to strike Iran is still on the table and it is ultimately up to US President Barack Obama.”

“That subject came up at the UN when the Russian ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, held a press conference as Russia assumed the presidency of the Security Council,” Portanaya added. “Brazilian President Lula de Silva was among the first world leaders to react to US sanctions against Iran, saying that they will not help or possibly hurt engagement with Iran and bringing Iran back to the negotiating table, specifically when it has to do with the nuclear swap program that was proposed by Turkey and Brazil, a program that was gaining support among the international community and it is something that the president of Brazil says that the US can be deterring with this mounting sanctions.”

Retired US army colonel Ann Wright along with former intelligence and security officers have recently signed a memo, which warns President Obama that Israel is preparing to attack Iran this month.

“The memo is an assessment by us of what we see the US government and the Israeli government starting to plan to do,” Wright explained. “We think that the Israeli government has hoodwinked the Obama administration, as well as other administrations; hoodwinked them into supporting things that have ultimately turned out to be very detrimental to the national security of the US.”

A group of American intelligence experts has also written to President Obama to say they believe Israel may launch a surprise attack on Iran in the next month. One of them was Ray McGovern, who told RT why he suspects this could happen.

“For a host of reasons – they are mostly circumstantial – but the most important one has to do with what impression Prime Minister Netanyahu got of our president when he was here three weeks ago,” McGovern said. “Our president did not dare to mention any contentious issues between our two countries – like our objection to the illegal settlements in the West Bank or killing of the US citizen onboard the “Mavi Manara.” Instead, it was a very much kind of a love fest with our president pretty much fawning all over Netanyahu.”