Iran Nuclear NewsUS lauds Japan for new Iran sanctions

US lauds Japan for new Iran sanctions

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AFP: The United States praised Japan Friday for imposing new sanctions on Iran that include an asset freeze and tighter restrictions on financial transactions, part of a global response to Tehran’s contested nuclear program.

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States praised Japan Friday for imposing new sanctions on Iran that include an asset freeze and tighter restrictions on financial transactions, part of a global response to Tehran’s contested nuclear program.

“The United States welcomes the announcement by Japan of new sanctions on Iran that implement UN Security Council 1929,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said in a joint statement.

“They mark a significant step forward in the international community’s efforts to combat proliferation and prevent Iran’ development of nuclear weapons,” they said.

“Japan joins other responsible nations that have also implemented such sanctions on Iran for its failure to meet its international obligations, including the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway.”

The steps come a month after Tokyo approved punitive measures in line with a June UN Security Council resolution which slapped a fourth set of sanctions on Iran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment work.

Japan’s new sanctions include a freeze on the assets of 88 companies, banks, state agencies and other entities and of 24 people linked to Iran’s nuclear program, which many nations fear masks a drive for atomic weapons.

Japan also said it would suspend any new oil and gas investments in Iran, but there are no plans to restrict imports of crude oil from the Islamic republic, the fourth-biggest oil supplier to resource-poor Japan.

Iran maintains that its nuclear program is peaceful.

Washington last month urged Tokyo to help raise international pressure on Tehran, despite Japan’s usually friendly ties with the country.

“We recognize and appreciate that as a major trading partner of Iran, Japan’s decision to robustly implement UN Security Council resolution 1929 is not without a cost,” Clinton and Geithner said.

“Japan’s actions underscore the international resolve to present Iran’s leaders with a clear choice: Meet your international obligations and enjoy the benefits of integration into the global system, or continue to reject your responsibilities and face growing isolation and consequences.”

Japan will also bar the individuals on the expanded blacklist of people and groups, which includes the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard, from entering the country, a government document said.

The sanctions bar Japanese financial institutions from dealing in equities and bonds that could be linked to the development of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, including bonds issued by Iran’s central bank.

The United States, the European Union, Canada and Australia have also announced additional sanctions, which have been opposed by Russia and China, now Iran’s closest trading partner, with major energy interests in the country.

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