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U.S. President Barack Obama has signed legislation imposing tough new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

At a signing ceremony at the White House, Obama said the new measures would undermine Tehran's ability to fund its nuclear program.

"With these sanctions, along with others, we are striking at the heart of the Iranian government's ability to fund and develop its nuclear program. We are showing the Iranian government that its actions have consequences, and if it persists, the pressure will continue to mount and its isolation will continue to deepen," Obama said.

The U.S. leader said the sanctions were not aimed against the Iranian people.

"Even as we increase pressure on the Iranian government, we're sending an unmistakable message that the United States stands with the Iranian people as they seek to exercise their universal rights, " Obama explained.

"This legislation imposes sanctions on individuals who commit serious human rights abuses, and it exempts from our trade embargo technologies that allow the Iranian people to access information and communicate freely," Obama added.

Both House and Senate last week passed the legislation which targets Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and its imports of gas and other refined energy products.

The action followed a fourth round of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran.

One of the bill's provisions says that foreign banks doing business with the Revolutionary Guard or certain Iranian banks will be shut out of the U.S. financial system.

compiled from press reports
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