The United States has aggressively raised its use of financial sanctions this year to pressure Iran to stop pursuing nuclear weapons, but a measure that takes effect in February could have the most powerful impact yet, the Treasury Department’s top sanctions official said on Thursday.
Highlights from market news:
- Starting February 6, U.S. law will prevent Iran from repatriating earnings it gets from its shrinking oil export trade, a powerful sanction that will “lock up” a substantial amount of Tehran’s funds
- Along with a European Union embargo on Iranian oil, the sanctions have cut Iran’s oil exports by more than 50 percent, costing Iran up to $5 billion per month, and led to a plunge in Iran’s currency
- Japan, which counts on Iranian oil but has slashed its purchases in compliance with sanctions laws, has expressed concern about the new provision taking effect in February.