AP source: Obama clears sanctions to squeeze Iran

BEN FELLER JULIE PACE Associated Press Published:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Associated Press has learned that President Barack Obama is moving ahead with tough new sanctions aimed at squeezing Iran's oil exports after determining there is enough crude on world markets to take the step without harming U.S. allies.

The congressionally mandated sanctions target foreign financial institutions that do business with Iran's central bank -- barring them from operating in the U.S. to buy or sell Iranian oil. The penalties are to take effect at the end of June.

Countries can still avoid the sanctions if they take steps to significantly reduce their imports before then.

Obama was under a deadline to decide by Friday.

A congressional source briefed on Obama's determination spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the White House had not yet announced it.