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Russia blasts latest sanctions against Iran nuclear program

The latest sanctions against the Iran nuclear program target its oil and petrochemical industries. The US and France are also threatening more devastating measures against Iran's banks.

By Staff writer / November 22, 2011

• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

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Iran and Russia slammed Western leaders after an announcement Monday that the US, Britain, Canada, and France were ratcheting up their sanctions on Tehran.

The US announced new sanctions on Iran's oil and petrochemical industries and any against companies involved with nuclear procurement and enrichment. While stopping short of leveling sanctions on Iran's central bank, which serves as a clearinghouse for nearly all oil and gas payments in Iran, it sent a strong warning by declaring the country's banking system a center for money laundering, The Christian Science Monitor reports. If sanctions were to be placed on the central bank, it would force Iran's trade partners to choose between doing business with the Islamic Republic or the US.

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy recommended to all world leaders that they freeze the assets of Iran's central bank, the Monitor reports. Britain and Canada cut ties completely with Iranian banks.

The sanctions are "only attempts at propaganda and psychological warfare," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday, according to the Associated Press, adding that the measures would be ineffective. The Russian foreign ministry released a statement condemning their actions as a violation of international law and an obstruction to "constructive dialogue with Tehran," CNN reports.

The latest sanctions come two weeks after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its report on Iran's nuclear program indicating that Iran had continued work on nuclear weapons as recently as 2009.

They follow four previous rounds of global sanctions from the United Nations, as well as independent US and European Union sanctions. No further sanctions at the UN level appear possible, due to opposition from veto-wielding members Russia and China, which maintain significant trade ties with Iran. The US is reticent to sanction Iran's central bank because it is afraid of sending world oil prices soaring and hindering the United States' economic recovery, the Associated Press reports.


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