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U.S. Cranks Up Sanctions Against Iran

The U.S. Treasury Department has announced a fresh wave of sanctions against Iran, targeting more than 50 entities tied to the country's procurement, petroleum, and shipping networks.

The move is meant to apply additional pressure on the Islamic republic to open up to international inspectors its nuclear programs, which the West suspects is aimed at producing nuclear weapons.

Tehran says its program is peaceful.

Under the measures, U.S. individuals are prohibited from engaging in transactions with the sanctioned entities, and all of the entities' U.S. assets are blocked.

The sanctions target 11 companies affiliated with the Iranian Defense Ministry, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the national shipping line, and a university.

Four individuals -- an Austrian national and three Iranians -- are also sanctioned.

With reporting by AP
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