VIDEO: U.S. and allies levy new, stricter sanctions on Iran
The United States was joined by two of its closest allies in imposing a new round of financial sanctions on the Iranian banking system, seeking to up the pressure on Iran as it continues what the west says is its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
The United States, the United Kingdom and Canada have levied a new round of sanctions on Iran — punishment for that country's continuing nuclear ambitions.
According to The New York Times, the European Union is expected to impose its own sanctions later on Tuesday.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner announced that the U.S. had labeled Iran a primary money laundering concern and imposed new sanctions to go along with that.
"Today we are taking the very significant step of under the PATRIOT Act, for the first time, we are identifying the entire Iranian banking sector, including the Central Bank of Iran, as a threat to government and financial institutions that do business with Iranian banks," Geithner said.
Geitner warned banks and institutions around the world that if they do business with Iranian banks, they may be supporting Iran's quest for nuclear weapons and its support for terrorism.
Clinton said the administration of President Barack Obama was not only seeking to pressure Iran, but also engage it, to bring it in line with American expectations.
"The United States is committed to engagement, but only if Iran is prepared to engage seriously and concretely without preconditions," she said. "So far we have seen little indication (of that."
Iranian leaders, of course, insist their country's nuclear program is restricted to peaceful purposes.