The United Kingdom cut ties with Iranian banks today, due to fears about its nuclear program, the Associated Press reported.
Britain’s Treasury Chief George Osborne said UK financial institutions will end all business relationships and transactions with Iranian banks, including the Central Bank of Iran and extending the all branches and subsidiaries of Iranian banks, the AP reported. This is the first time Britain has cut an entire country’s banking sector from the UK’s financial sector.
Osborne said that Iran’s nuclear activities “pose a significant risk to the national interests of the UK and countries across the region,” the AP reported.
It is expected that the United States will also hit Iran with new sanctions, sources told CNN. President Obama’s administration plans to add sanctions against Iran’s petrochemical industry, hoping to bar other foreign companies from doing business with Iran’s industry too, CNN reported.
Read more at GlobalPost: UN nuclear agency wants to send missions to Iran
The US already has sanctions prohibiting all American companies from doing business with Iran. The United Nations Security Council has also imposed four rounds of sanctions on Iran since 2006.
These latest actions by western countries come on the heels of the International Atomic Energy Agency highlighting fresh concerns about the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program. Similar to US reasons, Osborne said the British government’s decision to cut links with Iranian banks will make it harder for them to use the international financial system to support Iran’s nuclear banks and ballistic missile program, the AP reported.
The Iranian trade minister warned against sanctions that would hit Iran’s economy before announcements from western countries’ latest sanctions came out.
"Sanctions are a lose-lose game in which both side make a loss. If they don't invest in our oil projects, they will lose an appealing market," said Minister of Industry, Mine and Commerce Mehdi Ghazanfari, Reuters reported. This is a contrast from Iran’s usual statement that sanctions do not harm the economy.
Read more at GlobalPost: Iran isn't the only one misbehaving
The United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency is holding a forum for discussions on banning nuclear weapons on Monday and Tuesday. Earlier today, Israel and Arab nations sat together to discuss banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East, Reuters reported. Iran is boycotting the meeting.