News / Middle East

Moscow, Tehran Denounce New Western Sanctions on Iran

Iran and its powerful ally Russia have denounced new Western sanctions on Tehran's financial, petrochemical and energy sectors, calling them illegal and futile.

The U.S., Canada, and Britain each announced new steps Monday to increase economic pressure against Iran in response to international concerns that Tehran is developing nuclear weapons.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday the unilateral measures by the the three countries amounted merely to "propaganda and psychological warfare." He predicted they would prove ineffective, saying Iran's trade and economic ties with the U.S. and Britain are small anyway.

Separately, Russia's foreign ministry called the sanctions "unacceptable and contradictory to international law." Moscow, together with Beijing, has blocked further punitive measures against Tehran from reaching the United Nations Security Council for approval. Four rounds of U.N. sanctions against Iran have already been passed.

Washington said Monday it is imposing sanctions on goods and services used by Iran's oil and gas industry to discourage foreign companies from investing in the sector. The U.S. also announced a worldwide diplomatic campaign to encourage countries to buy petrochemicals from other suppliers.

Iranian petrochemical companies have become increasingly involved in refining gasoline as other Iranian energy firms face international sanctions.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said the U.S. has also now designated Iran a territory of "primary money laundering concern." He said this will send a warning that any transaction with Iranian banks could be supporting Iran's illegal activities. U.S. companies and individuals already are barred from doing business with Iran.

Meanwhile, Britain said it will stop business transactions with all banks in Iran, including Iran's Central Bank, the first time Britain has cut ties with the entire banking sector of a country. And Canada announced it would block "virtually all transactions" with Iran, including those with its Central Bank. Canada said it will also ban the export to Iran of any goods used by Iran's petrochemical industry.

The U.S. also said it has expanded the number of Iranian companies and organizations facing sanctions for suspected involvement in the Iranian nuclear program.

The International Atomic Energy Agency released a report earlier this month citing intelligence about Iranian efforts to develop the technology needed to build nuclear weapons. Iran has said the report is based on fabrications and insists its nuclear program is peaceful.

Since the release of the report, U.S. lawmakers have urged the Obama administration to impose tighter sanctions, including penalties against the Iranian central bank. U.S. officials say Obama is reluctant to take that step because it could block the oil-producing nation's access to international commerce and export markets, leading to a potential rise in oil prices that could hurt global economic growth.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - target="_blank">Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on target="_blank">Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid