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Obama Signs Order Extending Sanctions To Property Of Iranian Government

President Obama has signed an executive order blocking the movement of "all property and interests in property of the government of Iran, including the Central Bank of Iran," if the assets are in the U.S. or are controlled by an American or U.S. entity at foreign branches of U.S. institutions.

As The Associated Press says, "the new measures come as the White House tries to both ratchet up pressure on Tehran to abandon its nuclear program and dissuade Israel from launching a unilateral strike on Iran, a move that could roil the Middle East and jolt the global economy."

In the order, it's written that the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian banks have been using "deceptive practices ... to conceal transactions of sanctioned parties" and that there is an "unacceptable risk posed to the international financial system by Iran's activities."

By signing the order, Obama is implementing provisions of an amendment to the defense bill Obama he signed into law at the end of last year.

According to Bloomberg News, the order effectively widens the net of sanctions aimed at the Persian nation:

"Previously, only assets belonging to sanctioned Iranian entities or individuals were frozen. The order signed by the president yesterday blocks all property and interests in property belonging to the Iranian government, its central bank, and all Iranian financial institutions, even those that haven't been specifically designated for sanctions by the U.S. Treasury."

Iran says it is pursuing peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The U.S. and other nations say Iran has not proved to the world it is not seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

The president's order is here. Just click on the headline "Sanctions on Iran" and it should pop up.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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