The U.S. will approach sanctions against North Korea and Iran differently to make sure it targets the regime rather than the population, the State Department said Thursday.
State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said, "We don't take a cookie-cutter approach here. Iran and North Korea are two different countries. Iran has resources, particularly in the energy sector. North Korea does not. So we will apply measured sanctions against North Korea as we have in the past, and tailored to help influence the thinking of the government and those who support the government."
"Likewise, we are directing sanctions at Iran and it's the agencies that are linked to the concerns that we have -- proliferation, nuclear concerns... But they are different," he added.
The remarks were official confirmation that Washington will not slap the same strong sanctions on the North that it has imposed against Iran, where it has enacted a law to exclude any foreign banks and firms that have dealings with blacklisted Iranian companies from the U.S. financial system.
The U.S. decided first of all to issue an executive order targeting the North Korean regime's illegal activities, including counterfeiting dollar bills, to keep the option of dialogue open because the North is already economically isolated.
The details are expected this week after Robert Einhorn, the State Department's coordinator for North Korea sanctions, winds up his discussions with Seoul and Tokyo.