The United States, Britain and Canada have all announced a new set of tougher sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.
The announcements are in accordance with an earlier report which said that Western countries are preparing such sanctions.
The Associated Press reported that the American sanctions target Iran’s oil and petrochemicals industry and Iranian companies involved in nuclear procurement or enrichment activity.
The U.S. has also declared Iran’s banking system a center for money laundering, a way of warning financial institutions around the world to think twice before doing business with Tehran.
“Iran has chosen the path of international isolation,” President Barack Obama said in a statement on Monday. “As long as Iran continues down this dangerous path, the United States will continue to find ways, both in concert with our partners and through our own actions to isolate and increase the pressure upon the Iranian regime.”
Meanwhile, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said that all UK credit and financial institutions had to cease trading with Iran’s banks starting Monday afternoon, according to a report on the BBC.
“We believe that the Iranian regime’s actions pose a significant threat to the UK’s national security and the international community,” Osborne was quoted as having said. “Today’s announcement is a further step to preventing the Iranian regime from acquiring nuclear weapons.”
It is the first time the UK has cut off a country’s banking sector in this way, the BBC noted.
Canada has also announced measures against the Islamic Republic. Government House Leader Peter Van Loan said on Monday that among other measures, Canada will “block virtually all transactions with Iran, including those with the Central Bank.”
“The regime in Iran poses a significant threat to regional and global peace,” Van Loan was quoted by CTV News as having said. “We will do what it takes to isolate the regime and to minimize the risk that it poses.”
A statement from Canada’s Foreign Affairs Department said the sanctions also include expanding the list of items that cannot be exported to Iran to include all goods used in the petrochemical, oil and gas industry.
The Canadian government will also be expanding the list of individuals Canadians can no longer conduct business with, CTV reported.
The sanctions follow a November 8 report by the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency that made it clear Iran's nuclear development program is not intended solely for peaceful domestic purposes, as it has claimed. The report detailed evidence that Iranian scientists are producing nuclear warheads to be fitted on to Shahab-3 long-range missiles. The Shahab-3 is able to reach the State of Israel.