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 new sanctions, which were coordinated with Britain and Canada, build on elements of previous sanction efforts. The efforts announced Monday:
_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 United States 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.
_Expands existing energy sanctions with the aim of making it more difficult for Iran to operate, maintain and modernize its oil and gas sector.
_Designates 11 individuals and business entities for sanctions because of their alleged roles in assisting Iran's prohibited nuclear programs.