Obama says he will be flexible with Iran sanctions

WASHINGTON (JTA) – On the day President Obama signed legislation that ratchets up Iran’s sanctions, the White House said he would be flexible in its application.

The Defense Authorization Act, signed Saturday by Obama, includes an amendment that targets for sanctions third parties that deal with the Central Bank of Iran as well as with Iran’s energy sector.

The legislation allows the president  to give other countries and companies time to pull out of Iran, instead of subjecting them immediately to sanctions.

Obama sought the flexibility so he could leverage other nations into joining in Iran’s isolation, and  to time sanctions so that they did not redound on western oil markets.

"The Obama Administration worked closely with Congress to shape the Iran provisions so that this new tool would increase the likelihood that other countries would stop doing business with CBI and Iran’s oil sector," the White House said in a statement.

"This is important because the most effective approach is one that involves multilateral participation and is timed and phased to avoid negative repercussions to international oil markets and instead focus pressure on Iran," it said. "The provisions signed into law today have that needed flexibility, and we are now working with partners to be in a position to most effectively implement it."

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