Increased Iranian Sanctions: Washington Responds to Continued Nuclear Development by Tehran

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On July 1, 2010, President Barack Obama, preceded by Congressional voting signaling overwhelming support, signed into law the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and Divestment Act ("Act"). The Act is an effort by the United States to hinder what appears to be Iran's intent to develop nuclear weapons. Action by the United States comes at a time when several countries are modifying their sanction policies in response to Iran's actions. In recent weeks, the United Nations, the European Union, and the United Kingdom, among others, have all enacted resolutions or sanctions directed at Iran. While many elements of the Act must be implemented by regulations, and are therefore unknown at this time, this article summarizes the major changes that are now known.

Increased Energy Related Sanctions

A primary purpose of the Act is to pressure the government of Iran to abandon its perceived goal of furthering its weaponized nuclear capabilities. To achieve this goal, the Act calls for the president, absent a waiver, to impose at least three sanctions upon entities who invest in the energy sector of Iran. This imposition of three sanctions is an increase from the previous sanction regime in which only two or more sanctions were to be imposed. In addition to the increase in the number of sanctions to be imposed, the Act increases the number of sanctions available to the president from six to nine.

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