U.S. Tightens Oil Sanctions on Iran
March 30th, 2012
02:58 PM ET

U.S. Tightens Oil Sanctions on Iran

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - President Obama ratcheted up the pressure on Iran Friday, deciding to implement previously announced sanctions that will be the toughest to date.

The decision declares that world oil markets can be adequately supplied even if a significant portion of Iran's 2.2 million barrels a day in oil exports is taken off the table.

"There is a sufficient supply of petroleum and petroleum products from countries other than Iran to permit a significant reduction in the volume of petroleum and petroleum products purchased from Iran by or through foreign financial institutions," Obama said in a statement.

The sanctions, announced late last year, are aimed at getting Iran to give up its nuclear program - a program Iran says is for peaceful purposes but many suspect is intended to produce a bomb.

The decision was widely expected.

"It's hard to imagine the White House would have invited the political ramifications of stalling on Iran," said Kevin Book, managing director at ClearView Energy Partners. That could have been "devastating for key voter blocs in battleground states."

The sanctions target Iran's central bank, which the country uses to facilitate its oil trade. They subject any bank, company or government that does business with Iran's central bank to U.S. sanctions.

In effect, it forces people to choose between doing business with Iran and doing business with the United States.

The sanctions are slated to take full effect June 28, and a full embargo of Iranian oil from the European Union is set for July 1.

The sanctions had already begun ramping up, and analysts estimate Iranian's exports dropped by about 300,000 barrels a day over the last few months.

Read more over at CNN Money.

Topics: Gas prices • Iran • President Obama
March 22nd, 2012
04:17 PM ET

Code Pink appeals to Obama administration women

Feminist writer Gloria Steinem and the anti war activist group Code Pink are pressing high profile women in the Obama administration, including First Lady Michelle Obama, to oppose military action against Iran.

Code Pink has started a petition drive to influence three women in the Obama administration, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice and the first lady, to “say no” to a war on Iran.

The international community along with the United States has imposed severe economic sanctions on Iran which is suspected to be developing nuclear weapons. Iran maintains it's nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.

As the window shrinks for a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program, the activists are circulating a petition titled "Women say no war on Iran."

The petition reads in part, "We, American women and our allies, join with Iranian, Israeli and Palestinian women to oppose the inflammatory rhetoric of war and the recently publicized plan of the Israeli government to attack Iran."

Pink posters of Steinem, Alice Walker and others are emblazoned with the group’s message: “Iranians. We will never bomb your country. We love you.” The organization hopes to gather 7000 names on the petition to send to the first lady, secretary and ambassador.

Topics: Iran • Michelle Obama
U.S. seeks greater internet access for Iranians
March 20th, 2012
11:55 AM ET

U.S. seeks greater internet access for Iranians

President Barack Obama says he is trying to lift the "electronic curtain" imposed by Iran's leadership by issuing new guidelines to allow American companies involved in Internet services to offer their products to Iranians.

Obama said the government restrictions have gotten more severe "in recent weeks."

"Increasingly, the Iranian people are denied the basic freedom to access the information that they want," the president says in a White House video released Tuesday in celebration of the holiday of Nowruz, Iran's new year.  "Instead, the Iranian government jams satellite signals to shut down television and radio broadcasts. It censors the Internet to control what the Iranian people can see and say.

Read the entire story on CNN's Security Clearance blog.

Topics: Iran • Middle East • President Obama
March 3rd, 2012
12:39 PM ET

Iran to dominate President Obama's meeting with Israeli leader Netanyahu

WASHINGTON (CNN) - CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin reports on what's at stake for President Obama as he prepares to meet Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The meeting comes amid growing tensions with Iran and differing views over how to contain that country's nuclear ambitions.

Topics: Iran • Israel • National Security • President Obama
Obama: I'm not bluffing on Iran
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inspects centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear site
March 2nd, 2012
12:51 PM ET

Obama: I'm not bluffing on Iran

President Barack Obama says he isn't bluffing when he says Iran shouldn't have a nuclear weapon, but he cautions against a premature Israeli strike against the Islamic republic.

"At a time when there is not a lot of sympathy for Iran and its only real ally, (Syria,) is on the ropes, do we want a distraction in which suddenly Iran can portray itself as a victim?" he said this week in an interview with the Atlantic.

Obama, who will be meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, said a permanent solution is necessary.

Read more about his comments here.

Topics: Iran • Israel • President Obama • The News
February 5th, 2012
08:23 PM ET

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama on Sunday said Israel has not decided whether it will strike Iran, but added if tensions escalate this spring, no options would be taken off the table.

“I don't think Israel has made a decision,” Obama said in the president’s traditional pre-Super Bowl interview, this time with NBC’s Matt Lauer.

But he stressed that the United States would work with Israel to resolve the situation using diplomacy.

“(Israel), like us, believe(s) that Iran has to stand down on its nuclear weapons program,” he said.

Read the entire post on CNN's Political Ticker.

Topics: Iran • Israel • President Obama • The News