This week, Hilary Clinton announced that the US will follow Britain and Canada in toughening sanctions against Iran in a coordinated effort to tighten the screws around the country's suspected nuclear weapons program. These sanctions will be targeted at Iran's petrochemical industry as well as its oil and gas business.
Britain cut all financial ties with Iran, the first time it has cut an entire country's banking sector off from British finance, as announced by William Hague on Monday. Similarly, Canada said it was implementing a series of tougher sanctions, prohibiting almost all financial transactions with the Iranian government.
Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful and has called the U.N. watchdog's report "unbalanced" and "politically motivated."
France has been encouraging further sanctions to "convince Iran that it must negotiate". France recommended that the European Union and its member states, as well as the United States, Japan, Canada and other willing countries, freeze the asset of Iran's Central Bank and suspend purchases of Iranian oil.
Next week the EU is expected to pass further sanctions in line with the United States, but France is urging the international community to take the sanctions even further, collectively. US officials had been considering action against the Central Bank of Iran but became concerned that a full sanction could have a negative effect on the world economy because of the potential impact on oil prices.
It is not just the nuclear threat which has sparked concern in the Whitehouse; the US has declared Iran a "primary money laundering concern" too. The action should serve as a wake-up call to banks and financial institutions around the world still doing business with Iran.