Monday, January 7, 2013
WASHINGTON — New U.S. sanctions have broadened the front in the West’s escalating economic conflict with Iran, targeting large swaths of the country’s industrial infrastructure even as Iranian leaders are indicating a willingness to resume negotiations on the country’s nuclear program.
With Iran’s economy already reeling from previous sanctions, the new measures passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama last week are intended to deliver powerful blows against key industries ranging from shipping and ports-management to the government-controlled news media, congressional officials and economic experts say.
The new policies are akin to a trade embargo, designed to systematically attack and undercut Iran’s major financial pillars and threaten the country with economic collapse, the officials say.
By broadening the focus to entire industries, the new effort is intended to make it harder for Iran to evade sanctions through front operations, a time-honored practice in the Islamic republic, said Mark Dubowitz, author of several studies on sanctions policy.