U.S. President Barack Obama will sign into law Thursday a package of tough, new energy and financial sanctions against Iran because of its nuclear program.
The White House said Mr. Obama will sign the sanctions bill, targeting Iran's
energy and banking sectors, Thursday evening at 2215 GMT.
Last week, the U.S. Congress approved the measures that exclude from U.S. markets companies involved in selling refined petroleum products to Iran. They also prevent foreign banks from accessing the U.S. financial system if they do business with key Iranian institutions or Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
Earlier this month, the U.N. Security Council approved a fourth round of sanctions on Iran because of its refusal to stop it uranium enrichment program. The European Union has decided to impose its own unilateral sanctions against Iran including a ban on new investment, technical assistance and transfers of technologies to Iran's oil and natural gas sector.
Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful but Western nations suspect Tehran is trying to build weapons.
The Reuters news agency said Wednesday Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has warned the European Union it could face what he called "dire consequences" for imposing sanctions on Tehran.
The agency reported Mottaki sent a letter to his EU counterparts saying the "confrontational approach" of sanctions could damage relations between Iran and the EU. He did not elaborate.
Meanwhile, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran says the country's Bushehr nuclear plant will begin operations in September. Ali Akbar Salehi dismissed U.N. sanctions against Iran on Wednesday, saying the measures would have no impact on the country's nuclear advancements.
Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.
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