Iran faces fresh Western sanctions over nuclear plans

 

Hillary Clinton warned Iran it faced increasing isolation

The US, UK and Canada have announced new sanctions against Iran amid growing concern over its nuclear programme.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke of a "significant ratcheting-up of pressure" on Iran.

The UK said earlier it was cutting all ties with Iranian banks, while Canada said it was banning exports for the petrochemical, oil and gas industries.

A UN report has given the strongest evidence yet that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, but Iran denies this.

Tehran insists its nuclear programme is solely for civilian purposes.

The report, by the UN's nuclear watchdog (IAEA), said Iran had carried out tests "relevant to the development of a nuclear device".

But despite the report, Iran was not referred to the UN Security Council because Russia and China were opposed to the move.

Russia has described the new sanctions as "unacceptable and against international law".

"This practice seriously complicates moves for constructive dialogue with Tehran," said a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"We believe that the constant stepping up of sanctions has long since transcended the boundaries of solving non proliferation tasks in the context of the Iranian nuclear programme," the statement said.

'Money laundering'

Analysis

In recent years, the UN Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions on Iran - designed principally to prevent the country from getting hold of the materials needed to make weapons of mass destruction. In addition, a number of Western countries have added their own unilateral measures and restrictions.

It is worth saying that Iranian banks and businesses already face a number of restrictions in the West. So these latest measures - in themselves - are unlikely to make Iran's government change its behaviour.

Western officials say that they hope that other countries will also announce measures of their own.

But it is not yet clear which will choose to do so. Many nations - including China - buy Iranian crude oil and they use Iranian banks to clear their transactions.

Mrs Clinton said that Iran's petrochemical industry, oil and gas industry and financial sector would be targeted by the sanctions.

"The message is clear," she said. "If Iran's intransigence continues, it will face increasing pressure and isolation. Today, the United States is taking a series of steps to sharpen this choice."

Speaking at a news conference at the State Department in Washington, she said the US expected "additional sanctions" by other countries in the days ahead.

The US also named Iran a "primary money laundering concern".

The US Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, who appeared with Mrs Clinton at the news conference, warned that international banks should be wary of doing any business with Iran that might aid its nuclear programme.

"Financial institutions around the world should think hard about the risks of doing business with Iran," Mr Geithner said.

US firms were also warned against dealing with Iranian banks.

President Barack Obama said in a written statement that the United States had identified "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".

"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," he said.

The British Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, had earlier said that all UK credit and financial institutions had to cease trading with Iran's banks from Monday afternoon.

"We believe that the Iranian regime's actions pose a significant threat to the UK's national security and the international community," he 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 UN Security Council has already passed four rounds of sanctions against Iran for refusing to halt uranium enrichment.

Highly enriched uranium can be processed into nuclear weapons.

The US has already slapped sanctions on dozens of Iranian government agencies, officials and businesses over the nuclear programme.

Iran's deputy oil minister Abdolhossein Bayat said the new sanctions would not stop Iran exporting petrochemicals to the European Union, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency.

The agency said Iran had an 11% share of the European market.

 

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  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 220.

    I do not believe Iran is plotting to produce a nuclear capability and blow Isreal or anywhere else off the face of the earth. Western governments tell lies of this sort in order to justify taking control of nation states who happen to have a lot of oil and sell their collective aggresion to the wider world as spreading the democratic process.It is so transparent that its almost laughable.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 219.

    Iran can not produce any hi technology that would be considered safe.
    Please take a good look at what Iran produces so far. Does anyone see
    a exported Laptop or mobile phone that is made in Iran ?
    Letts be fair to every living soul, Iran needs less aggressions and more peaceful development to show the rest of the world.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 218.

    Looks like the Global elitist propoganda machine has worked on most of you. Keeping you in fear and misinformed so they can keep control. You fear because "they" told you so. Personally, I think this has more to do with the U.S. elections than the truth. None of the global elitists want Rob P to win because he would dismantle them in a heartbeat and the blood money train would end!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 217.

    I'm far more concerned about Hilary Clinton than Iran

    That poor lady looks more and more miserable every time I see her

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 216.

    Re 200: . "What does Iran have to possibly gain from misusing nukes apart from deterring a US invasion?"

    Destroying Israel.

    NB: The current Iranian regime - without nuclear weapons - has been in power for over 30 years and the US hasn't invaded it.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 215.

    The Russians are playing a dangerous game. They may seek to gain influence in Iran by blocking moves to isolate them, but if Iran gets the bomb, who are they most likely to smile upon? The infidels in Moscow, or the islamic separatists in Chechnia?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 214.

    They say that you can tell a lot about a perosn by the friends that they choose
    If you are a war mungering regime, or if you simply want to repress and murder your own people, (and Iran seems to want to do both), then you automatically seem to have the friendship of Russia and China.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 213.

    Let's face it, the comments on sanctioning Israel as well doesn't hold water. Iran signed the NPT. Israel (and India + Pakistan) did NOT, therefore sanctioning them is illegal under international law. Iran's obfuscation about their nuclear programme is extremely worrying. If it is just for power, why are they so reticent about letting the world know?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 212.

    New Prices: Iran 2/5F, Sri Lanka 7/1,Somalia 12/1, China 100/1

  • rate this
    +11

    Comment number 211.

    If the west cannot stop them, Iran will acquire a nuclear weapon. Iran has vowed to "wipe Israel off the face of the earth". What option does this leave Israel, and what will this mean for the Middle East?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 210.

    The US government sponsors terrorism against perceived enemies worldwide.

    US government special forces are already in Iran and all over Iranian assets worldwide.

    So yes, apparently we are on the road to nowhere.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 209.

    199. oldpip

    The US had developed accurate long range ICBM's since the mid 1970's - So far they have been trusted with them

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 208.

    Memo to air force pilots Please load iraninto planes sat navs make sure you mo where to drop the next bombs silly WAIT AND SEE?

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 207.

    As someone that has visited Iran I can say that the majority of the population just want dependable cheap power. Whilst the government may or may not be developing weapons its certainly not the desire of the people.

    If Iran just want power why doesn't UK, US & Canada help them build a Thorium reactor? Its cheaper to run and can't produce weapons material? If Iran object then they do want weapons!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 206.

    187: That appears to be a tacit admission that Iran's nuclear program is in fact for developing weapons, not for civilian power, as your government claims.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 205.

    Tony Blair, middle east peace envoy working on behalf of the US, Russia, the UN and the EU has the right attitude

    Don't bother doing anything, you'll be wasting your time

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 204.

    So Iran chooses to pursue nuclear energy....and hides major elements of its programme. Strong evidence emerges that its looking to develop nuclear weapons. And some blame America and Israel.

    Pathological hatred, just like the Iranian elite show.

    And I hope Iran are stopped...theocracy is bad enough. And they could probably justify using nukes as the will of God.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 203.

    198.stevdk - Israel's problem is that in defending itself in such an over the top manner it has, in practice, been feeding the very source of violence it seeks to negate......it would be so much better for the Israeli citizens to engage constructively, not engage by enacting revenge above and beyond all else.....revenge just leads to blood fueds & so the cycle of violence continues.....

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 202.

    If Iran "nuked" Israel, as they say they will, not only would millions die immediately, but radiation would spread world wide, as it did with Fukushima, but at a vastly more dangerous level.

    Even if you blindly hate Israel and want Iran to destroy it, you still owe it to yourself and your family to ensure that Iran doesn't get a chance to irradiate the world. A nuclear Iran is a threat to us all.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 201.

    Is this the same "Growing concern" that lead to the iraq war? Growing concern over weapons that did not exist? i smell something...

 

Page 13 of 23

 

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