'US, UK, to announce new sanctions on Iran'

US officials say looking to fill holes Iran has used "to work around existing sanctions in energy, financial sectors."

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
November 21, 2011 08:37
2 minute read.
currency exchange dealer, Iran

currency exchange dealer, Iran_311. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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The United States, Britain and Canada were set to announce a set of sanctions on Iran on Monday, according to ABC News.

US officials told ABC that the State Department will impose sanctions in areas which Iran currently uses "to work around existing sanctions on its energy and financial sectors."

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Sources familiar with the matter said Friday that the US plans to sanction Iran's petrochemical industry, seeking to raise pressure on Tehran after fresh allegations it may be pursuing nuclear weapons.

The sources said Washington wanted to send a strong signal after the UN nuclear watchdog issued a November 8 report saying Iran appeared to have worked on designing an atomic bomb and may still be secretly carrying out related research.

US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, speaking to reporters traveling with him to Canada last week, said the United States believed the most effective way to confront Iran still was to use diplomatic pressure and sanctions to try to curb the Islamic state's nuclear program.

"Obviously to go beyond that raises our concerns about the unintended consequences that could result," Panetta said.

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He pointed to a US analysis that a strike on Iran would set back its nuclear program, which Iran says is only for peaceful purposes, by one or two years at most. It would also have implications for US forces in the region.

"And I have to tell you, thirdly, there are going to be economic consequences to that, that could impact not just on our economy but the world economy," Panetta said. "So those things all need to be considered."

The six powers involved in diplomacy on Iran - the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany - hammered out a joint resolution in intense negotiations and submitted it to the 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a Vienna-based UN body, which is expected to debate and vote on it on Friday.

It aims to increase pressure on Iran to address fears about its atomic ambitions. But it is not expected to satisfy those in the West and in Israel, who had hoped IAEA document would trigger concrete international action, such as an IAEA referral of its case to the UN Security Council.

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