Top of the Morning: Violence in Egypt; Sanctions on Iran

Top stories from today’s DAWNS Digest.

“An Increasingly Lethal Crackdown”

The revolution is not over. The Egyptian Cabinet has offered to resign, though it is unclear whether Egypt’s military rulers will accept the mass resignation. In the meantime, protests and violent skirmishes in Cairo show no signs of abating. At least 23 people have died and 1,500 injured. “With the clashes unfolding nearby, thousands of people converged on Tahrir Square, the epicenter of Egyptian resistance — first to the former president, Hosni Mubarak, ousted in February and now to the military commanders who replaced him…Intense skirmishing continued for a fourth day on the main avenue leading to the Interior Ministry. For the protesters, the outburst still seemed to represent a leaderless expression of rage. Though the security forces could have reached the square from other streets and the protesters could have attacked the Interior Ministry from other directions as well, each side continued to hammer the other — protesters with rocks, the security forces with tear gas that wafted back through the square — along the same charred and pockmarked block.” (NYT

USA, UK and Others Slap Sanctions on Iran’s Banking Sector

The UK is cutting its ties to Iran’s banking sector and the EU is considering a similar proposal on Thursday. By the end of the day yesterday, the United States joined the chorus with this statement from President Obama. “New sanctions target for the first time Iran’s petrochemical sector, prohibiting the provision of goods, services, and technology to this sector and authorizing penalties against any person or entity that engages in such activity.  They expand energy sanctions, making it more difficult for Iran to operate, maintain, and modernize its oil and gas sector.  They also designate 11 individuals and entities for their role in assisting Iran’s prohibited nuclear programs, including its enrichment and heavy water programs.  And today we have taken the next significant step to escalate the pressure by acting under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act, identifying for the first time, the entire Iranian banking sector – including the Central Bank of Iran – as a threat to governments or financial institutions that do business with Iranian banks.” (White House)