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WASHINGTON — Under pressure from Congress to demonstrate that it is not easing up on sanctions on Iran’s oil sector or on its nuclear and missile programs, the Obama administration on Thursday announced an expanded list of Iranian companies and individuals that it said it would target to block their trading activities around the world.
Among the newly penalized companies is a Singapore-based firm called Mid Oil Asia, which is accused of helping the National Iranian Tanker Co. make payments for services through money transfers that made no mention of the vessels that were aided, or their Iranian ownership. Another Singapore company, Singa Tankers, is accused of helping Iran make “urgent payments.” The location of both companies is notable, because Singapore often prides itself on running a carefully regulated shipping and banking system.