Tuesday, 04 June 2013

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States has unveiled aggressive new sanctions against Iran, directly targeting the rial currency for the first time and also the auto sector, a key source of jobs and revenue.

The measures, which could wreak more economic deprivation inside Iran, came days before a presidential election in the country and followed Teheran's refusal to cede ground in stalled world power talks on its nuclear programme.

They were accompanied by new US warnings of a "painful" and "powerful" escalation of the sanctions regime, as President Barack Obama seeks to convince the Islamic Republic the price of uranium enrichment is too high.

"The steps taken today are part of President Obama's commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, by raising the cost of Iran's defiance of the international community," White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday.