The U.S. and its Western allies have made a joint effort to increase economic pressure on Iran in an attempt to resolve their nuclear disputes.
For the first time, Iran’s petrochemical industry has been put under sanction by the U.S., and the American Foreign Secretary called Iran and its Central Bank a “primary money-laundering concern.”
Meanwhile, George Osborne, the head of the British treasury, announced that Britain is completely boycotting the Iranian Central Bank, an unprecedented move. The aim, he said, was stop Iran’s alleged ambition to develop nuclear weapons.
France has also imposed new sanctions on Iran and called on other EU countries, as well as the U.S., Japan and Canada, to freeze assets of the Islamic Republic’s Central Bank.
Canada announced on Monday that it is imposing sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical products as well as its oil and gas industry.
The new sanctions come on the heels of a resolution by the International Atomic Energy Agency, passed on November 18, which indicates grave concern about Iran’s nuclear program. The resolution calls for Iran to end uranium enrichment, but Iran says its has a right to continue its enrichment in order to provide fuel for nuclear energy production.
On November 19, the UN Security Council also approved a resolution, introduced by Saudi Arabia, which condemns the “assassination plot” against the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. The resolution calls on Iran to hand over suspects whom the United States has accused of being involved in the alleged plot.
Mohammad Khazai, Iran’s representative at the UN, reacted by saying: “This resolution is based on unsubstantiated claims by a country that has a long history of enmity with my country, and we completely reject it.”
The U.S. has accused Iran of involvement in an assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador in Washington. Iran denies the allegations, and many analysts have stated that the accusations lack credibility.