The United States has placed sanctions on the Belarusian energy company Belarusneft for its investment in an Iranian oil field.
In a statement Tuesday, the U.S. State Department said the state-owned company is being sanctioned in accordance with a U.S. law targeting companies that do business with Iran.
The sanctions aim to increase pressure on Iran for its controversial nuclear program, which the United States believes is aimed at creating a nuclear weapon. Iran denies the charge and insists its atomic activities are for peaceful purposes only.
The State Department says Belarusneft entered a $500 million contract to develop an oil field in Iran in 2007. The Iran Sanctions Act, passed in 1996 and amended last year, requires sanctions be imposed on companies that make certain investments over $20 million.
The United Nations imposed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran in a resolution last year for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment activities. The U.N. resolution also alerted other nations of the potential link between Iran’s fuel sector and its nuclear activity.