Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Iran sanctions law lets Obama pull his punches

The United States' latest sanctions on Iran target Tehran's ability to sell crude oil but they give President Barack Obama wide latitude to pull his punches and avoid imposing penalties.

Below is a description of the sanctions that Obama signed into law on December 31, the timelines to carry them out, the ways Obama can avoid imposing them and the ambiguities in the law that must be interpreted by the administration.

U.S. lawmakers crafted Section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal year 2012 as part of a campaign to restrain Iran's nuclear program, which the United States suspects of being designed to produce nuclear weapons.

Iran says its program is for civilian purposes to generate electricity so it can export more of its valuable oil and gas.

What actions can trigger sanctions?

The sanctions target foreign financial institutions that conduct petroleum and non-petroleum transactions with Iran's central bank or other blacklisted Iranian financial entities. Read More