US President Barack Obama has signed a financial bill which includes details of more sanctions to be imposed on Iran. Media reports say that the bill was approved by the US Congress and Senate with a large majority at the end of last month. Obama signed the bill as a measure to stop an impending 'fiscal cliff' in the current staggering US financial crisis, caused by the end to tax cuts decided by George W Bush.
The proposed sanctions include stricter measures on dealing with Iranian imports and exports in an effort to undermine Iran's economy. They are aimed primarily at Iran's shipbuilding, shipping and energy sectors. The US, EU and Israel, among others, believe that undermining Iran's economy through these sanctions will go a long way towards thwarting Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
This new legislation would penalise individuals selling or supplying commodities such as graphite, aluminium and steel to Iran; such items are all crucial to Tehran's shipbuilding and nuclear operations.
Iran has been accused of developing a nuclear plant for military purposes, despite its ongoing insistence that the plant's development is essential for peaceful purposes, such as generating electricity.
Iran argues that as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.