Iran count down: US, UK, Canada sanction Iran's banks, petro-chem


The US along with Britain and Canada have announced new financial and energy sanctions against Iran to halt its suspected nuclear weapons program.

According to a US official, who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity, new sanctions will likely be announced later Monday by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The financial and energy sanctions will target Iranian companies, the hardline Revolutionary Guard force and Iran’s petrochemicals sector.

The sanctions were put in action at 15:00 GMT on Monday with all UK credit and financial institutions to cease all transactions with banks, including the Central Bank of Iran.Britain’s Treasury chief George Osborne has said that this is the first time the British government has cut an entire country’s banking sector off from the UK’s financial sector, using powers created by the Counter-Terrorism Act of 2008.

“We’re doing this because of international evidence that Iran’s banks are involved in the development of Iran’s weaponized military nuclear weapon program. We’re doing this to improve the security not just of the whole world, but the national security of the United Kingdom,” he said.

This follows the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report, published last week, on Iran allegedly pursuing nuclear weapons.The IAEA watchdog has said that they have evidence that Iran does possess the technology to make a nuclear weapon and is already trying to do so.

The US, Canada, South Korea, Australia, Britain and France have all imposed sanctions on Iran in the last few years, but they have not had much affect.

Last year the US imposed sanctions on Iran’s banking and energy sectors. Back then the main target was Iran’s ability to refine crude oil into petroleum products.The UN has imposed sanctions on Iran four times, but since China and Russia are reluctant to support them the result has so far been poor.

Both countries are arguing that the United Kingdom, France and the United States will use sanctions as an“instrument for regime change in Iran.” The report, they say, shows nothing new and therefore there  are no reasons to impose fresh sanctions.

In the meantime, Iran remains firm in insisting that its nuclear program is purely civilian and is aimed at scientific research.

“Sanctions are a lose-lose game in which both sides make a loss. If they don’t invest in our oil projects, they will lose an appealing market,” Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mines and Commerce Mehdi Ghazanfari said, speaking to the press before the sanctions were officially announced.