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Swiss Extend Iran Sanctions, Exempt Central Bank

The Swiss government says it has extended financial sanctions against Iran by freezing the assets of 11 more companies and individuals.

A government statement said the move brings Switzerland closer into line with measures adopted by the European Union in January in response to Iran's controversial nuclear program.

Significantly, the Swiss sanctions stop short of freezing the assets of Iran's central bank and imposing an oil embargo-- which other European states have adopted.

The Swiss government said it would make a decision on the EU's ban on the import, purchase, or shipping of Iranian crude oil at a "later date," without giving specifics.

Swiss banks have long been accused of allowing firms and individuals close to the Iranian government to conduct business through Swiss accounts.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP

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