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US is weighing new Iran sanctions

world Updated: Sep 04, 2012 01:40 IST
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With Israel openly debating whether to strike at Iran's nuclear facilities in the coming months, the Obama administration is moving ahead with a range of steps short of war that it hopes will forestall an Israeli attack, while forcing the Iranians to take more seriously negotiations that are all but stalemated.

Already planned are naval exercises and new antimissile systems in the Persian Gulf, and a more forceful clamping down on Iranian oil revenue. The administration is also considering new declarations by President Barack Obama about what might bring about US military action, as well as covert activities that have been previously considered and rejected.

Later this month the US and over 25 other nations will hold the minesweeping exercise in the Persian Gulf, in what military officials say is a demonstration of unity and a defensive step to prevent Iran from attempting to block oil exports through the Hormuz Strait. US and Iran have announced what amounted to dueling defensive exercises to be conducted this fall, intended to dissuade the other from attack.