President Barack Obama announced new U.S. sanctions on Tuesday, July 31 against foreign banks that help Iran sell its oil and said the measure would increase pressure on Tehran for failing to meet its international nuclear obligations, Reuters
reported. Obama’s decision, in an executive order, came ahead of congressional votes on new sanctions intended to further strip Iran of its oil-related revenues. The United States remains committed to finding a diplomatic resolution to the standoff with Tehran, but is also determined to step up the pressure, Obama said in a statement. Obama’s new sanctions target foreign banks that handle transactions for Iranian oil or handle large transactions from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) or Naftiran Intertrade Company (NICO), two key players in Iran’s oil trade. Obama’s order also targets China’s Bank of Kunlun and Iraq’s Elaf Islamic Bank for providing services to Iranian banks.