US expands sanctions on Iran to press nuclear case

The United States on Wednesday imposed new sanctions on Iran to choke off its oil income, saying it was necessary to increase the pressure on Tehran over its suspected nuclear weapons program.

The US Treasury said it was tightening up the list of countries allowed to continue buying Iranian oil without violating the US sanctions regime.

Those still permitted to buy Iranian oil will have to retain their payments outside Iran, to prevent Tehran access to the funds, the Treasury said.

"So long as Iran continues to fail to address the concerns of the international community about its nuclear program, the US will impose tighter sanctions and intensify the economic pressure against the Iranian regime," said US Treasury official David Cohen.

The United States also placed sanctions on Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, the government's broadcast authority, and its chief Ezzatollah Zarghami, for censorship and for broadcasting forced confessions of political detainees.