The Obama administration on Wednesday expanded US sanctions on Iran, slapping additional companies and individuals with penalties meant to curb Iran's nuclear and missile programs.
In announcing the move, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the new US penalties were aimed at those helping Iran develop its nuclear and missile programs and evade international sanctions.
The administration's announcement is the first step in implementing an Iran sanctions resolution passed by the UN Security Council last week.
"In the coming weeks we will continue to increase the financial pressure on Iran," Geithner said.
Geithner told a White House news conference that the administration expects other countries to announce new penalties of their own against Iran soon.
"This is not something the United States can do alone," he said.
The additions to the US sanctions list include Iran's Post Bank for its support of nuclear proliferation, officials said. That brings to 16 the number of Iranian-owned banks on the US list.
Among the other new targets of US sanctions are five front companies and a list of more than 90 names of ships that Iran's national maritime carrier has been using to try to evade sanctions, the Treasury Department's Stuart Levey told the same White House briefing.
Levey, Treasury's lead architect of US sanctions on Iran, said the US also is adding two individuals and four organizations that are part of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, which the US claims plays a key role in Iran's missile programs and support for terrorism.
The US also added to its sanctions list 22 petroleum, energy and insurance companies located inside and outside Iran that are owned or controlled by the Iranian government, Levey said.
"We will continue to target Iran's support for terrorist organizations," Geithner said.