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Companies Act On Iran Sanctions

Iran's refusal to comply with its international obligations regarding its nuclear program sparks use of government and private sector sanctions.

The renowned insurance group Lloyd's of London has announced it will restrict insurance coverage for petroleum shipments going into Iran. Earlier this month, President Barack Obama signed into law new U.S. sanctions aimed at depriving Iran of the resources to develop nuclear weapons by deterring certain foreign financial transactions and energy-related investments and trade with Iran.

The U.S. sanctions were put in place after the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1929 imposing a fourth round of economic sanctions on Iran in response to its refusal to comply with its international obligations regarding its nuclear program.

Lloyd's General Counsel Sean McGovern told Reuters news agency that "Lloyd's will always comply with applicable sanctions."

The move by Lloyds follows similar pullbacks by a variety of private companies, including banks, oil firms and manufacturing corporations, which have stopped doing business with Iran.

U.S. Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey says the dual impact of government and private sector action is key to trying to pressure Iran to change course and live up to its international nuclear obligations:

"The voluntary actions of the private sector amplify the effectiveness of government-imposed measures. UN Security Council Resolution 1929 represents a new and key catalyst in this strategy."

When he signed the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act earlier this month, President Obama said that since he came into office, the U.S. has presented the Iranian government with a clear choice:

"It could fulfill its international obligations and realize greater security, deeper economic and political integration in the world, and a better future for all Iranians. Or it could continue to flout its responsibilities and face even more pressure and isolation."

"To date," said Mr. Obama, "Iran has chosen the path of defiance. ... With these sanctions --along with others -- we are striking at the heart of the Iranian government's ability to fund and develop its nuclear program. We're showing the Iranian government that its actions have consequences. And if it persists, the pressure will continue to mount, and its isolation will continue to deepen. There should be no doubt," said President Obama, "the United States and the international community are determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."