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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.

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The latest sanctions moves will limit Iran's ability to refine gasoline, invest in its petroleum industry, and access foreign capital and lines of credit, The New York Times reports.

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The most significant new sanction is the US accusation that Iran's banking system is a "money laundering concern," the Washington Post reports. The label implies to other countries that it is legally risky to do business with Tehran, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said. Barring Iran from the international financial hub of London will significantly increase the cost and hassle of doing global business for Tehran, according to the Guardian.

But while the US and others sought to portray their new moves as a major escalation, it's not clear that the measures will have much of an effect on slowing Iran's nuclear program, The New York Times reports.

“The fact that they don’t have letters of credit, the fact that they don’t have access to state-of-the-art Western technology is great,” said Danielle Pletka, an expert on sanctions at the American Enterprise Institute. “But you have to ask, were we able to impose crippling sanctions that Secretary Clinton once talked about, would we get ahead of them in their development of a nuclear program?

Administration officials vow that with time, the effect will be clear, and they argue that Iran is already suffering from current sanctions. The nuclear program is "short of capital and technology," foreign investors have left the country, and the latest sanctions target the oil and petrochemical industries – the first- and second-largest sources of government revenue.

The Monitor reports that the money-laundering designation is meant to allow foreign governments and companies time to prepare for stricter measures the US intends to pass in the coming weeks, although administration officials indicated that there were still several interim steps before sanctioning the central bank.

Iran vows that previous sanctions didn't hinder Iran's progress and the new ones will not, either, the Tehran Times reports.

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