U.S. levels new sanctions on Iran's Central Bank

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) -- President Barack Obama is ordering new U.S. sanctions on the government of Iran, including the Central Bank.

In a statement accompanying his order, Obama says the sanctions are warranted because of the "deceptive practices" of the Central Bank and the "unacceptable risk" posed to the international financial system by Iran's activities.

The order comes amid new tensions in the Middle East and around the world over the potential of a unilateral strike by Israel on Iran's nuclear program.

Obama says it is still possible to resolve the standoff over Iran's nuclear program through diplomatic efforts. His administration has sought to use sanctions as one way to pressure Iran to halt its nuclear program.