The United States is promising to increase pressure on Iran following an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington.
In prepared testimony Thursday, Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen said the U.S. will continue to develop what he called “new and innovative ways” to crack down on Iran and its central bank, including possible new sanctions. In his statement to the Senate banking committee, he said such moves would “impose additional costs” on Iran and give Washington more leverage in dealing with Tehran.
The U.S. Justice Department Tuesday charged Manssor Arbabsiar, a naturalized U.S. citizen with an Iranian passport, and Gholam Shakuri, an Iran-based member of the Iranian Quds force, with conspiring to kill Saudi ambassador Adel al-Jubeir.
Cohen described the alleged plot as a dramatic reminder that the threat from Iran is not limited to Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
The U.S. Treasury Department has already announced economic sanctions against Arbabsiar and Shakuri, as well as three officers of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
The United States has previously imposed sanctions on Iran for its nuclear enrichment activities and refusal to cooperate with the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency.
Cohen said those sanctions are already paying off and that Iran is now facing “unprecedented levels of financial and commercial isolation.” He said the existing sanctions are making it harder for Iran to attract investors, causing projected losses of $14 billion a year in oil revenues through 2016.
Iran maintains its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.