[JURIST] US National Security Council [official website] spokesperson Caitlin Hayden announced [press release] on Friday that the White House is placing new sanctions on over 30 organizations and individuals with ties to Iran. The sanctions come as the US continues to negotiate with Iran regarding the future of the country's controversial nuclear energy program. Five Iranian banks and several aviation and shipping companies accused of aiding Iran's nuclear program or supporting terrorism in the Middle East have been targeted. The sanctions including freezing assets and denying access to the US financial system. "The United States remains committed to working with our P5+1 partners toward a long-term, comprehensive solution that provides confidence that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively peaceful," said Hayden.
Over the past several years Iran has been subject to numerous sanctions for its contentious nuclear program, although some commentators doubt the efficacy of such sanctions [JURIST op-ed]. Iran agreed [JURIST report] in November 2013 to limit its nuclear program in exchange for sanction relief in negotiations with the P5+1 powers. In September 2013 the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) [official website] called on Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea to cooperate with UN Security Council resolutions. The EU General Court [official website] annulled [JURIST report] sanctions on eight Iranian banks and companies earlier that month that were thought to be linked to the company's nuclear program.