By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration on Thursday stiffened penalties on Iran over its nuclear program by blacklisting 12 companies and individuals for their work in transferring sensitive technology and uranium enrichment.
The departments of State and Treasury announced sanctions against seven more companies and five more people, freezing any assets they may have in U.S. jurisdictions and barring Americans from doing business with them. The Treasury Department says they were targeted because they provide the Iranian government with "unique goods, technology and services" related to the nuclear program that violates U.N. Security Council resolutions.
The U.S. and its allies accuse Iran of seeking to develop atomic weapons. Iran insists its program is for peaceful purposes only.
"So long as Iran continues to pursue a nuclear program in defiance of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions, the U.S. will target those involved in Iran's illicit enrichment activities," the Treasury Department said in a statement. "The entire world has made it clear that these activities are unacceptable and only serve to increase Iran's isolation."
The new penalties apply to the procurement arms of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, which has been subject to U.S. sanctions since 2005, and the Iran Centrifuge Technology Company, which was first sanctioned in 2011, along with top executives.
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