New sanctions imposed against Iran

The Obama administration announced a new set of sanctions against Iran on Monday in an effort to apply greater pressure to get Tehran to halt its suspected nuclear weapons program.

The efforts announced Monday include:

– Use a section of the Patriot Act to identify, for the first time, Iran’s entire banking sector, including the country’s central bank, as a threat to other governments and institutions. The designation of Iran as a “primary money laundering concern” will require increased monitoring by U.S. banks to make sure that they and their foreign affiliates are avoiding all contact with Iranian financial institutions. The U. S. was joined in this action by Britain and Canada.

– Impose sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical industry, prohibiting U.S. companies from providing goods, services and technology to support Iran’s production of petrochemicals. This industry represents Iran’s second-biggest export after crude oil.

– Expand existing energy sanctions with the aim of making it more difficult for Iran to operate, maintain and modernize its oil and gas sector.

– Designate 11 individuals and business entities for sanctions because of their alleged roles in assisting Iran’s prohibited nuclear programs.